Captain John J. Ivory Large c. 1930-40s Folk Art Painting of the SS Martha’s Vineyard

Regular price $185.00

I purchased this and a second painting (of the Governor Rabie) at an auction in New Hampshire, not knowing much about the late Capt. John J. Ivory who painted them, but just thinking they were great folk art ship paintings. The blue of that water gets me every time, and of course I love the tiny people!) I’ve done some research since, learning that Captain Ivory was quite a fixture and legend on Martha’s Vineyard, known for his seafaring tales (and his drinking!) as well as for his paintings, a number of which are held in the collections of the Vineyard Haven Library and Martha’s Vineyard Museum.  [More about Ivory below]

This one, painted on what appears to me to be linoleum (glass like surface) with masonite back is a terrific example, picturing the SS Martha's Vineyard, which Ivory probably saw traveling to and fro daily and one imagines had a special love for. The SS Martha's Vineyard was constructed by Bath Iron Works, Maine, for the New England Steamship Company as the Islander,  launched on July 23, 1923 providing service to Nantucket Island. In 1928 she received the name Martha's Vineyard and began operating in regular service for the New England Steamship Company and its successors until October 1956. (She left the company's fleet in 1959, was purchased by the Rhode Island Steamship Lines and was re-powered with new diesel engines before operating seasonally on various routes in Massachusetts, including again to Nantucket under the auspices of Nantucket Express Lines. 

Dimensions: 27" l x 14" t. Very good condition. 

About Captain Ivory, Chris Baer, writing for the MV Times in 2015: “What’s fairly certain is that he spent his youth aboard clipper ships plying international waters, and spent time living in China and Japan. He settled in Oak Bluffs in the early 1900s, starting a family and working odd jobs as a mechanic and hotel cook before embarking on a second far-flung career as a merchant mariner. Returning to the Vineyard in the 1930s, he turned to painting, and to drink. A kindly man who welcomed visitors to his little vessel-home on the beach, his good nature was sometimes taken advantage of by tourists and collectors, who would buy his paintings for next to nothing. Some of his paintings show nail holes, it’s remembered, from affixing his work to the underside of a table to deter burglars while he was away from his unlocked boat home. He painted on anything and everything — cardboard, linoleum, plywood, canvas, and scraps that people would bring him.”