Dutch Whaling: De Vries

Dutch Whaling: De Vries

The Greenland Whale Fishery

Joghem de Vries, attributed, 1769

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch had a major whale fishery. Dutch marine artists painted it. These paintings may have been designed for a house or hall. They are in pairs and could fit around tall narrow windows. The setting presents a complete view of the Greenland whale fishery, one that the artist must have seen.

One of the museum’s founders purchased these from the Hearst Collection in California. After his family left Searsport, they were in the whaling business and collected whaling art.

A whaleboat is about to strike a whale. In the background aboard the whaler De Vrees, a whale is alongside and men are taking off its blubber-rich skin, while actually standing on the whale. Later whalers had stages. Many  Dutch whalers cut the blubber in small pieces, put it in casks and tried out the blubber ashore.

Oil on canvas.

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Joghem de Vries