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Xanthus Russell Smith : U.S.S. “Kearsarge” Sinking the “Alabama”
Xanthus Russell Smith (U.S.S. “Kearsarge” Sinking the “Alabama”)

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Artist: Xanthus Russell Smith
Title: U.S.S. “Kearsarge” Sinking the “Alabama”
Media: Oil on canvas, 21 1/4 x 35 3/4 inches
Description: Signed at lower right: "Xanthus Smith"

Xanthus Smith was the son of the noted landscape and theater scenery painter Russell Smith and artist Mary Priscilla Wilson Smith; his sister was the artist Mary Russell Smith. He was educated at home by his mother, who also gave him drawing lessons. As a youth he was attracted to the sea, and made many sketches and watercolors of ships.

Smith enlisted in the Navy at the outbreak of the Civil War, and served two tours of duty as a captain’s clerk. His depictions of major naval battles between the new ironclad ships were greeted with great critical acclaim, and by the 1876 Centennial Exhibition Smith was considered America’s foremost painter of Civil War naval engagements.

After pursuing the Confederate commercial raider Alabama for approximately two years, the Kearsarge finally caught up to her while she was in the port of Cherboug receiving repairs. Mindful of French neutrality, the Union Captain waited until the Alabama exited the port. The Alabama was escorted by a French warship until she reached international waters at which time a battle ensued and the Alabama subsequently sank.

Manet produced two paintings depicting the battle (Philadelphia Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art), and Xanthus Smith painted eight, the most most famous being a large impressive work he exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Expositiona that is now in the collection of the Union League of Philadelphia.

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Price: Price upon request
Inventory: RS 5844
  
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