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01-032 "S.S. Bremen - Leaving Home"
2001, Acrylic on illustration board

This was the first in terms of storyline but last completed of a three painting commission to describe the 1911 voyage of the German steamer "Bremen" to America. A typical crossing and a relatively lesser-known ship might seem an odd subject, but the patron was honoring his grandmother's immigration to America. On the cold and snowy dockside, we see relatives bidding farewell to passengers - we mostly see the wealthier people, both on deck and on dock. The poor steerage types are on their own decks at the rear of the vessel, and their families are unseen behind the ship. The meticulous clock has struck, the steam whistle breaks the winter morning calm with a mournful wail. The aging steam ship gathers her strength for what will likely be a rough crossing at this season. For Bremen, her passengers, her crew, this is a taking leave of the familiar, and a launch into danger. They are leaving home - and many will not return this way again.

Chris Butler

Copyright 1994-2003 by Chris Butler
More of Chris Butler's art can be viewed at Novagraphics Space Art.