Navigating the marine art market

Marine Arts Gallery

Peter Kiernan is a member of the second generation operating the Marine Arts Gallery, established in 1968 We are next door to the Peabody-Essex Museum in the historic seaport of Salem, Massachusetts. The gallery has a wide selection of antique and contemporary marine paintings. Visit the website at

Advice and news on collecting antique and contemporary marine art for the beginner or seasoned collector. Answering questions on finding that perfect ship painting or restoring and framing a family heirloom.

Collecting Marine Art

  • Tugboat Robert A.  Petty by Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921)

    Tugboat Robert A. Petty by Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921)

  • Two-Masted American Yacht by William G.  Yorke (1817-1892)

    Two-Masted American Yacht by William G. Yorke (1817-1892)

  • South Street, New York by Moonlight by Dusan Kadlec

    South Street, New York by Moonlight by Dusan Kadlec

What is marine art ?

Marine art is a painting that the main element is water. From there it can include many different kinds of vessels from clipperships to tugboats and yachts. It can also include detailed harbors, and even figures on a beach. The subjects go on and on from there.

Most people start their search for a perfect ship painting to go over a mantle. Others develop a passion and fill the walls!

In the last 44 years we have sold over 10,000 paintings and carry both antique and contemporary works.

The antique side of collecting can include artists such as Thomas Buttersworth (1768-1842), his son James E.Buttersworth (1817-1894), Thomas painted mostly naval vessels, James on the other hand, is highly regarded for his 'jewel-like' yachting scenes. Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921) painted virtually every type of vessel arriving in New York harbor up until his death in 1921. His most avidly collected paintings today are his steam-sail, yachting, and a small group of playful folk art like paintings of tugboats. Other antique paintings by noted marine artists including Badger, Stubbs, and many others. Prices for the very best in the antique field can range from $10,000. to well over a million dollars.

Contemporary marine art has become extremely popular in the last 20 years. The most important include Roy Cross,R.S.M.A., Terry Bailey,R.S.M.A., Richard K. Loud, Dusan Kadlec,John Stobart, David Thimgan, Peter Wademan, Shane Michael Couch, and many others. All of these artists embrace the skill and research that is involved in producing marine paintings of the highest quality. Contemporary marine art can range from as little as $5000. for a small work by one of these artists to well over $300,000. for the top five.

The third group I would classify as artists that have died in the last 30 to 50 years: including Cape Ann artists Emile A. Gruppe and A.T.Hibbard, as well as Jack L. Gray, Montague Dawson, and others that fall between the antique and the living artists.

My best advice to anyone considering collecting marine art is to visit museums, galleries, and find out as much information on the artist that you like. When you are ready to buy seek out the very best example you can. It's always worth stretching.

Our gallery is located next door to the Peabody-Essex Museum in historic Salem Mass and we welcome all questions on the artists we handle as well as restoration, framing and appraisal questions. Email

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