Chasing Mermaids: Paintings by Ralph Cahoon (1910-1982)

  • September 07, 2012 11:59

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Bass and Blues by Ralph Cahoon

Ralph Cahoon was born in Chatham, Massachusetts, (Cape Cod). As a youth his favorite pastime was sketching the waterways. He met his wife Martha and was married in 1932. Both developed a folk art style which they began painting directly on simple furniture pieces.

In 1959, Ralph began his famous series of mermaid paintings. These were avidly collected from galleries on Nantucket to Palm Beach, Florida. Even Jacqueline Kennedy purchased two of Ralph's paintings in 1961. Josiah K. Lilly III, an heir to the pharmaceutical fortune was one of Cahoon's most enthusiastic patrons, purchasing over 50 of Ralph's paintings and founding the Heritage Plantation Museum, which now displays Cahoons works. One of Ralph's mermaid paintings recently sold for $207,000. The painting depicted mermaids and sailors riding the Swan Boats at Boston Public Gardens.

We are proud to offer for sale this wonderful example of Ralph's work titled "Bass and Blues". The painting has never been offered for sale since it was commissioned in 1970. It was exhibited at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in 1986. It was featured on a calendar published by the museum in 2003.

Your chase for mermaids would be over with this beautiful example! You can reach us at or 978-745-5000.

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Navigating the marine art market

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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.

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