Antonio Jacobsen

Artist Biography

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark to a family of violinmakers, Antonio Jacobsen is best known for his marine paintings. He attended the Danish Royal Academy of Design for some time, but upon turning eighteen he was required to join the Danish military. Instead, Jacobsen sailed for the United States. Arriving in New York City, he looked for work near Battery Park, and spent time sketching the nearby boats in harbor. He was offered a job decorating safes by a representative of Marvin Safe Company, which included a project painting a ship onto a safe. Ship owners and sea captains soon took notice of his sketches too and began to commission images of their ships. Steamship companies, such as the Old Dominion Line, Fall River Line, White Star Line, and the Clyde Line, among others, would later hire him to depict their fleets as well. These commissions helped establish him as one of the foremost painters of American shipping of the era, and he found financial success during his working life. It is believed that he painted about 6,000 paintings. In addition to sketching the New York region, he traveled to Long Island, Newburgh, Boston, and Hampton Roads, Virginia. His work is included in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The White House, Museum of the City of New York, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Mariners’ Museum, and National Museum of American History, among others.

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