Painting, An Offshore Breeze, Isles of Shoals, Maine

Mauritz Frederic Henri De Haas was born in Rotterdam, Holland, studied art at the Rotterdam Academy and served as official painter to the Dutch Navy. He emigrated to New York in 1859, shortly after his older brother Willem Frederick (1830-1880), also an artist, had done the same. During the Civil War, De Haas painted several naval actions for Admiral David Farragut; he won medals for three of his artworks at the 1876 Centennial, which helped bolster his reputation. He also exhibited a painting of Niagara Falls at the 1878 Paris Exposition.
This painting portrays waves breaking on a short section of the rocky coastline of Isles of Shoals, a popular subject for him and other painters of the mid-19th century. In the distance are two unnamed steamers, identifiable by their lack of sail, while in the middle a small gaff-rigged sailboat-either a fishing boat or coastal cargo vessel-is visible under an approaching squall. The whitecaps on the tops of the waves show that it is a windy day out on the water.
A few miles off the southern coast of Maine, the nine Isles of Shoals served as a perfect camp for generations of New England fishermen starting in the early 17th century. The islands were shared between New Hampshire and Maine in the mid-17th century. They may be named after the local schools or "shoals" of fish, rather than any shallow waters.
The original Baroque-style frame for this piece is said to have been designed by De Haas himself. CIGNA's predecessor company acquired the painting in 1988.
Currently not on view
Object Name
painting, oil
date made
De Haas, Mauritz F.H.
Physical Description
oil on canvas (overall material)
without frame: 38 1/4 in x 67 in; 97.155 cm x 170.18 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Cigna Maritime Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cigna Maritime Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Additional Media

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