Madeleine: Defender of the America’s Cup, 1876
Oil on linen, 26x40", 2011. The schooner Madeleine approaches the Sandy Hook Lightship, outer mark of the second race of the 1876 defense of the America’s Cup. Not far behind, and well ahead of the Canadian challenger Countess of Dufferin is the 25-year-old American, winner of the original 1851 contest. Crew were stationed aboard the lightship for months on end; surely this day would have been a welcome break from the routine. Framed original available.
Volunteer and Thistle: America's Cup Start 1887
Oil on panel, 26x40, 2014. Thistle, the challenger for the America’s Cup in 1887, crosses the starting line just ahead of the defender Volunteer during the second race of the challenge on September 30th. In a stiff breeze and considerable seas, with scattered rain about, Volunteer would soon pass Thistle and go on to retain the Cup. The steam yacht Electra, with the race committee of the New York Yacht Club aboard, and the Scotland Lightship formed the starting line outside New York harbor. The New York Yacht Club’s cutter Volunteer, successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1887 against he Scottish Challenger Thistle sailing for the Royal Clyde Yacht Club. George Watson, then considered the most able English yacht designer, produced the challenger. Watson had been in the U.S. in 1886 taking notes on the best American Yachts. His design embodied the best features of the English Cutter, but with more beam for her depth, a cutter bow, and a cutaway stem. In her trials Thistle defeated the best English racers, decisively beating the prior America’s Cup challenger Genesta. The Americans again selected their previously successful designer, Edward Burgess, who produced Volunteer, Boston’s third successful Cup defender. Volunteer was built of steel by Pussy & Jones at Wilmington, DE, and rigged by George Lawley & Sons in Boston. She was Burgess’ fastest boat, considered a wonder in her time, and demonstrated her superiority from her first race. She easily defeated the previous defenders Mayflower and Puritan, and had a season’s unbroken record of victories. Framed original available.
Malabar X Off Bermuda, 1930
Oil on panel, 18x24", 2015. Malabar X, built in 1930, is the culmination of the evolution of John Alden’s schooners. He kept Malabar X until 1933 and her record is replete with fine showings in top races. These include a class win over 27 competitors and a fleet second in the 1930 Bermuda Race, and second in a class of 21 boats in the 1931 Cape May Race. Indeed, the “Ten’s” early years were the pinnacle of Alden’s designing and ocean racing career. The top three boats in Class A in the 1930 Bermuda Race were all Alden designs while the top four in the 1932 fleet were Alden schooners. The “Ten” was the end of the Malabar schooner line, for the next three boats of that name were Yawl-or Ketch-rigged. She is still cruising today.
America Salutes Queen Victoria, August 22, 1851
Oil on canvas, 30x40". The yacht America, having left the best of the British fleet far in her wake, closes in on the finish line in a match race around the Isle of Wight which would become known as the first “America’s Cup.” As the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert falls in alongside, New York Yacht Club Commodore and America owner John Cox Stevens orders the crew to dip her colors and doff their caps to the royal family in gesture of respect and sportsmanship. America was a 19th-century racing yacht and first winner of the America’s Cup international sailing trophy. The “One Hundred Sovereign Cup” or “£100 Cup,” mistakenly known in America as the “One Hundred Guinea Cup,” the trophy was later renamed after the original winning yacht. On August 22, 1851, America won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 53-mile race around the Isle of Wight by eighteen minutes. The race was held on August 22, 1851, with a 10:00 AM start for a line of seven schooners and another line of eight. America had a slow start due to a fouled anchor and was well behind when she finally got under way. Within half an hour however, she was in 5th place and gaining. The eastern shoals of the Isle of Wight are called the Nab Rocks. Traditionally, races would sail around the east (seaward) side of the lightship that marked the edge of the shoal, but one could sail between the lightship and the mainland if they had a knowledgeable pilot. America had such a pilot and he took her down the west (landward) side of the lightship. After the race a contestant protested this action, but was overruled because the official race rules did not specify on which side of the lightship a boat had to pass. The result of this tactic put America in the lead. She held this lead throughout the rest of the race. At one point the jib boom broke due to a crew error, but it was replaced in fifteen minutes. On the final leg of the race the yacht Aurora closed but was 18 minutes behind when America finished shortly after 6:00 PM. Legend has it that while watching the race, Queen Victoria asked who was second, and received the famous reply: “There is no second, your Majesty.”
Far from Home
Oil on linen, 12x18". This small painting of a classing S&S yawl meeting the sunrise of the Northeast Atlantic won the Yachting Aqward at the 2010 Mystic International Marine Art Exhibition as "the work that best captures the beauty and excitement of 'the sport of kings' in all its many forms."
Last But Not Least: J-Boat Whirlwind, 1930
Oil on linen, 28x48". Helmed by owner Landon Thorne, the J-Boat Whirlwind beats upwind during the 1930 trials to choose a defender of the America’s Cup. Striking with an Art Deco flair and wildly innovative, hand-made down to the smallest detail, she was nonetheless a disapointment — winning only one race in twenty five tries. She was broken up a mere five years later.
Today, Russ Kramer is widely regarded to be among the country's leading marine artists. His large-scale studio paintings create "first-hand" experiences for the viewer, putting you right on board during some of history's greatest yacht races or turn-of-the-century luxury vessels. A sense of the dramatic moment, combined with meticulous research and attention to detail, have found considerable appeal and sell quickly into private and corporate collections. His works are unique and immediately recognizable, combining narrative, historical, figurative, and maritime disciplines.
Russ has been the subject of a one-man show at the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island, appeared in WoodenBoat, Yachting, and Sail magazines, and is prominently represented in the volumes Art and Artifacts of The America's Cup by Hyland-Granby. He is a fellow and past President of the American Society of Marine Artists.
He has won multiple awards at the Mystic International Marine Art Exhibition, including the prestigious Yachting Award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2017. He is represented by the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, the J. Russel Jinishian Gallery in Fairfield, Connecticut, and the Roger King Gallery in Newport.
Russ lives and works in Mystic, Connecticut.