FITZ HENRY LANE1804-1865
Nathaniel Rogers Lane is one of America’s most renowned marine artists. Lane was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1804. He was partially paralyzed and used crutches from childhood on. Lane petitioned to change his name to Fitz Henry Lane in 1831. In 1832 he apprenticed himself to the Boston lithographer William S. Pendleton, doing naval architecture drafts, panoramas, and topographical views of Boston and its harbor. Lane soon established himself as a printmaker, and also as a painter. As a painter, he was largely self-taught, but Boston marine painter Robert Salmon was a strong influence on his work, resulting in the development of Lane’s unique luminist quality. Lane returned to Gloucester in 1847 to concentrate on painting. Back in Gloucester, Lane was commissioned to produce seascapes, ship portraits and book illustrations. He designed and built a dramatic seven-gabled, granite house and studio on Duncan’s Point. His studio on the top floor of the house provided sweeping views of Gloucester and its harbor. The Penobscot Bay area of Maine was another important focus for Lane. He drew commissions from patrons involved in Maine’s shipbuilding industry and maritime trades. Lane was known for his technical accuracy in depicting a vessel’s rigging, sail plan, and construction. It was said, “His pictures delighted sailors by their perfect truth.” In the 1850s he pioneered new chemical pigments in red, yellow, and orange. Lane’s compositional devices included the use of strongly contrasting colors and careful placement of shapes to lead the viewer’s eye over the entire surface of the canvas. Lane was also one of the first artists to use photography in his studio painting process. He exhibited his work annually at the Boston Athenaeum and the American Art Union in New York. He died at his home in 1865. The Cape Ann Museum holds a large number of Lane’s works.