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New Jersey Remembered: A Seventy-fifth Anniversary; Philadelphia Collection 75; October 2005
 
 
painting
 
George Emerick Essig
(1838–1926)
Harbor View with Sailboats and Steamers
Oil on canvas, 24 × 42 inches
Signed and dated at lower left: “Geo. E. Essig/1878”

George Emerick Essig was born in Philadelphia and reputedly studied with the marine painters James Hamilton (1819–1878) and Edward Moran (1829–1901). He also became a specialist in marine scenes and often painted the New Jersey coast. Essig exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1876 to 1888. He moved to Atlantic City, possibly around 1880, and practiced dentistry in Ventnor. Paintings by him once hung in Dennis Hotel and Chalfont-Haddon Hall in Atlantic City. Essig’s primary medium was watercolor, but in the late 1880s and early ’90s he made etchings that were usually based on the subjects of his paintings. Some sources give his death date as 1919, but more recent information states that he was still living in Atlantic City in 1925.1 A large number of Essig’s works are owned by the Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery in Reading, Pennsylvania.

The large number of shipwrecks along the New Jersey shore led to a need for lifesaving services. Barnegat Lighthouse, the second tallest lighthouse in New Jersey was built between 1857 and 1859, replacing an earlier structure that had been built in 1835 and collapsed in 1856. The structure rose to a height of 165 feet and cost $60,000 to construct. It was decommissioned in 1927 and remains a major tourist attraction. Windmill and Sailboat may represent Long Beach Island, where there were a number of windmills.


Notes

1. See WWWAM, vol. 1, p. 1059, and William H. Gerdts, Jr., Painting and Sculpture in New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand Co., 1964), p. 179.



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