Steamboat Paintings, various artists page 3


J.M. WHITE - SPEED & ELEGANCE ON THE MISSISSIPPI by Oscar E. Berninghaus (who painted the St. Louis levee for Budweiser).
Print made from the painting in the Collection of the Boatmen's National Bank in St. Louis. Picture area seen here measures 9 x 14.40 inches.


Rucker's jazz boat's pilot house looks like the one on the ED. J. GAY

The pilot house in Rucker's moonlit jazz band painting looks like the one on the EDWARD J. GAY so it would be a safe bet to tentatively identify the boat by that name.

Sidewheel Packet
A splendid boat with a grand pilot house. Way's Packet Directory 1724 Built in 1878 at Cincinnati, Ohio Her machinery was from the GOVERNOR ALLEN. She was completed at the Cincinnati Marine Railway Company in July 1878 and towed south by the new J.M. WHITE. Ran her trials at New Orleans that October. Designed for the New Orleans-Bayou Sara trade.

She carried U.S. Mail under contract until January 1880. Her roof bell came from the BRILLIANT that was built in 1850. Burned at First Street in New Orleans then laid up July 30, 1888.

The 8 African American Jazz musicians playing in the moonlight on the texas cabin room with the pilot house behind them is called JAZZ BOAT II by Robert Rucker on the back of a 1994 calendar in the attached file.

I'm surprised at how plentiful my collection has become and I haven't scanned or photographed lots of stuff that is sometimes awkward to handle without studio lights and other professional equipment.


New Orleans riverboat watercolor painting by Robert Rucker (1932 - 2001) a famous listed American artist The watercolor is 10-1/4 x 14 sight not including the matte & frame. The painting is in very good condition.

Currently listed on eBay & accepting bids or offers during the first week of June 2019.


"Robert E. Lee" painted in 1993
By Tom Freeman

This image is Numbered 21 from a limited edition of 500

Signed by Tom's Wife Ann

overall size of paper with margins 20" x 14-1/4"
image size 17-5/8" x 11-5/8"
Available for $100 each

Tom Freeman passed away, unexpectedly, on June 16, 2015. A brilliant artist, he will be missed by so many around the world. His prints are now signed by his wife Ann.

Tom Freeman was born in Pontiac, Michigan in 1952. He was the third child of James and Doshia Freeman, (3rd of 5 children). The Freeman's lived in Michigan until Tom was 12 years old when the family moved to Baltimore, Maryland.

Tom never had any formal art training and had always considered his talent as a God given gift. In fact school was of very little interest to him. Tom joined the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve in 1970. He later transferred from the Marine Corps Reserve to the regular Army. His military service extended from 1970 to 1977.

Tom's professional art career started when he left the military. He would visit the U.S. Naval Institute and would take samples of his work to them. Finally, he asked what it would take to get his artwork on Proceedings Magazine. A gentleman by the name of Dell Kaiser showed Tom the artwork of Carl Evers. Tom contacted Carl and to this day considers Mr. Evers the master of watercolors. "Carl was very supportive, he told me to look closely at the art and that I would figure it out on my own." Finally, Proceedings used one of Tom's paintings for their cover. This started Tom on the path of success.

Tom started taking 35mm slides of his work and sending them to various book publishers. The first publisher to contact him and offer him a cover was G.P. Putnam & Sons. Tom has worked with most of the large publishing houses such as Dell, Jove, Bantam, and Berkley. Tom's work has appeared on many magazines such as Readers Digest, Popular Mechanics, Boating, Yachting, Business Week, and even the TV Guide. His work has been placed on porcelain plaques and plates for Franklin Mint and the Hamilton Group.

Tom's artwork has been exhibited in many galleries Kirsten, Greenwich, Mystic, and the Grand Central Gallery. He has done work for the National Parks Service and many corporations throughout the world.

In 1986 Tom was asked to hang his original paintings in the West Wing of the White House. Currently, there are 8 original paintings hanging there along with several of his limited edition prints.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tom produced a collection of 42 paintings now on permanent exhibit at the Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii. Tom completed 12 paintings, which were on exhibit at the Naval Museum in Washington, DC. commemorating the 60th anniversary of the attack.

One of Tom's paintings was donated to the State of Israel; it hangs in the Immigration/Clandestine and Naval Museum in Haifa.

On April 10, 2002 Tom had the honor of giving one of his paintings to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II in Vatican City, Rome. The painting is hanging in Pope Pius IX museum in Italy.

The White House Historical Association commissioned Tom for 4 years to produce cover art for the Association's annual Christmas card.

Tom was awarded the Department of the Navy Superior Public Service Award on April 3, 2003.

On September 3, 2003 Tom presented a painting to President George W. Bush depicting the President's landing aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. The painting was presented to him in the Oval Office.

Tom won the 2003 Gold and Platinum Ozzie Award in the category of "Best use of illustration for a single article," Popular Mechanics Magazine, The Hearst Corporation.

Tom also won the SILA award for the 42nd Society of Illustrators Los Angeles annual contest; winning the silver award for Editorial Artwork.

Tom had been selected as the first artist in residence to the United States Naval Institute.

stockers landing illustration

This just in STOCKER'S LANDING On the Blackwater Levee, Circa 1905. Compliments of Killark Electric Mfg. Co. St. Louis, MO, 1977. Killark Electric is a leading manufacturer of electrical construction products for standard, harsh and hazardous environments. Including conduit raceway fittings, junction boxes, enclosures, lighting fixtures, plugs & receptacles, distribution equipment and standard and custom controls.

CONCORDIA (1906-1914)

Sternwheel Packet

Way's Packet Directory Number 1284

Built at Jeffersonville, Indiana by Howard Ship Yards, 1906
Built for Captain George Prince and arrived at Natchez, Mississippi which became her home port and was also her owner's residence on Christmas Day, 1906
Original price was $11,700. She ran Natchez-Atchafalaya and Black rivers. She was rebuilt at Paducah in 1912. On June 7, 1913, doing flood relief work near Clayton, Louisiana, she sank, drowning head clerk A. D. Primm and twelve workers. She was raised that July and ran up the Red River 1913-1914

In 1914 her name was changed from CONCORDIA to UNCLE OLIVER to honor Oliver Wilds, father of Captain Ollie K. Wilds. The UNCLE OLIVER was lost in a fire at Vicksburg, Mississippi circa 1926.

This painting of the CONCORDIA by an unknown illustrator was entitled "STOCKER'S LANDING on the Blackwater Levee, Circa 1905." It was commissioned and distributed for promotional purposes by Killark Electric Mfg. Co. St. Louis, Missouri in 1977. Killark Electric is a leading manufacturer of electrical construction products for standard, harsh and hazardous environments. Including conduit raceway fittings, junction boxes, enclosures, lighting fixtures, plugs & receptacles, distribution equipment and standard and custom controls.


An example of charming paintings by Cheryl Harness that she made to accompany her 1998 illustrated biography of Sam Clemens with special emphasis on his association with steamboats on the Mississippi. Available from

Mark Twain and The Queens Of The Mississippi
Written and Illustrated by Cheryl Harness

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1st edition (November 1, 1998)
ISBN-10: 0689815425
ISBN-13: 978-0689815423


Jack Meyers painting of steamboats at New Orleans

The color inset upper left is of a lithograph dated 1974 of a Jack Meyers painting entitled "Loading Cotton" 17 1/4 inches by 14 1/4 inches. Signed by the artist and numbered 257/1500 and dated 1974 sold at auction some years ago.

The larger black and white image is from a 1975 States-Item newspaper article about the artist and the painting by Lura Glade in the Vincent Mann Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jack Meyers was an African-American artist best known for his self-taught, "naïve" paintings based on sketches and photographs of Louisiana—especially rural farms and Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. For example, his painting Catfish and Cotton depicts a little boy and dog running towards a farmhouse away from the viewer, as a scene of cotton fields and rural life spread out before them. His paintings utilized a sophisticated palate, featuring nuanced colors and delicate brushwork to describe each scene in carefully observed detail. Born in 1930 in New Orleans, LA, Meyer studied at Southeastern Louisiana University and he later worked as a sales representative. Meyers died in 1994 in New Orleans, LA.


Carsten Wieland: Devil's Bayou

Pleasant discovery made during a Google image search . . .
Steamboats are the subject of several other paintings by Wieland;
this is my favorite of his that can be seen online.


Watercolors and drawings by Carsten Wieland

posted April 4, 2017

Carsten Wieland 'Devil's Bayou II'

092_2017 Watercolor
Hahnemühle Anniversary Edition
15.70 x 11.80 inches
Painted with a Lukas Aquarell 1862 watercolor set, ideal for traveling artists
Carsten Wieland is a watercolor artist from Essen, Germany.
During his journeys to the United States he fell in love with abandoned buildings,
and after he spent some time drawing them, decided to paint them in watercolor.

Frederic Mizen steamboat illustration

The Lynxville painting was done by Chicago artist Frederic Mizen (1888-1964). Mizen specialized in portraits and landscapes with an emphasis on the American Indian.

Lynxville, Wisconsin was first known as Haney's Landing, when two brothers, John and James Haney, purchased land from the government. They started a trading post to deal in wood and furs with the Indians and built the first log cabin. In 1857 a group of men hired Pizarro Cook to survey the land and the village was laid out. Mr. Cook settled here in Crawford County and became the County Surveyor. He served in the army during the Civil War, taking part in a number of important events, such as the Siege of Atlanta and Sherman's march to the sea. Lynxville was incorporated in 1889 with a census population of 313.

The name Lynxville was taken from the steamboat "Lynx" which brought surveyors to the village. Lynxville had the ideal harbor - the channel of the river made a bend into the land at the point called "The Devil's Elbow" and the water good depth enabling boats, large and small, to come in for supplies and to carry on trade. Lynxville became one of the stopping places for big boats traveling from St. Paul to St. Louis.


Painting by Gerrit Sammer of the SEGWUN's Engine Room entitled "Full Steam Ahead"



Muskoka Limited Edition Art Print of the Engine Room of Historic Steamboat Segwun

Limited Edition Art Print by Gerrit Sammer of a printing of 100 called "Full Steam Ahead". .

The print is 13 x 15 inches with a 2 inch white border. Sammer was commissioned by the Historical Society to paint the SEGWUN's Engine room for a fundraiser.

It is a sold out edition and was painted in the finest detail in this Artist's Proof.

Muskoka Steamship & Historical Society
185 Cherokee Lane
Gravenhurst ONTARIO
P1P 1Z9


Pen and ink with watercolor of the steamboat ROB'T E. LEE

Pen and ink with watercolor wash of the steamboat ROB'T E. LEE by an artist with a name that could be interpreted as "la Spic" (or something similar to that, it's hard to tell) in the lower right corner which was the featured illustration in one of 2 versions of the 1954 Cheerios cereal promotional album that included 9 reproductions of Confederate currency circa 1864 in the following denominations: $1.00, $2.00, $5.00, ,$10.00, $20.00, $50.00, $100.00, $500.00 and $1,000.00. It was an interesting choice to feature an illustration of the celebrated steamboat (best known for winning the race against the steamboat NATCHEZ in 1870 that began in New Orleans and ended in St. Louis. The caption under the steamboat illustration claims incorrectly that the ROB'T E. LEE "steamed up and down the Mississippi during the 1860's when the Confederate Government was formed."

In actuality, the boat was built in 1866 at New Albany, in the state of Indiana which remained loyal to the Union throughout the Civil War and the ROB'T E. LEE was on the Lower Mississippi River during only the last 4 years of the 1860's, from 1866 to 1869. 1866 was the year after namesake Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9th, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia which brought the Civil War (that had begun on April 12, 1861 when Confederate artillery opened fire on Union troops who occupied Fort Sumter which was on an island in Charleston harbor in South Carolina) to a close.

Another interesting detail in the illustration is that no African Americans are represented in the foreground group of 24 men, women and children at the steamboat landing as the ROB'T E. LEE steams along out in the middle of the river. However, 2 dogs and a horse are depicted.


ISLAND QUEEN starboard elevation painted by John Fryant

John Fryant painted this starboard elevation of the ISLAND QUEEN in 1994.

Text below has been edited from the following: Wikipedia

The preceding Island Queen ISLAND QUEEN was built in 1896 and lost due to a fire in 1922. This second Island Queen was built in parts beginning in 1923.

Midland Barge Company of Midland, Pennsylvania built its steel hull, designed as a matched pair with the CINCINNATI for the Louisville & Cincinnati Packet Company and John W. Hubbard. After taking delivery on the hull and naming it LOUISVILLE the owner instead resold it to the Coney Island Company. Coney Island Company finished the boat in Cincinnati on April 18, 1925. The ISLAND QUEEN measured 285-feet long and could carry 4,000 people. The 1000-ton sidewheeler was powered by oil-burning steam engines with six boilers. It was fully completed and christened in Cincinnati by the Coney Island Company on April 18, 1925.

Like her predecessor that had the same name, this ISLAND QUEEN was used for excursions to Coney Island amusement park and tramping between New Orleans, and as far upstream as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Coney Island Company hired musicians to entertain the passengers. Sidney Desvigne, a cornet player from New Orleans, recruited musicians from his hometown to perform on excursions for the Cincinnati market. In 1929, his band included Henry Julian, Ransom Knowling, Walter "Fats" Pinchon, Percy Servier, and Gene Ware.

While in Pittsburgh, on September 9, 1947, her chief engineer struck her fuel tank with a welding torch, causing a fire and a series of explosions that eventually reduced ISLAND QUEEN to her steel structure, and killed 19 crew members. No passengers were aboard at the time of the fire, but about 40 members of the crew were aboard. Force from the explosions could be felt throughout downtown Pittsburgh, shattering windows in nearby buildings. There were even reports of people being knocked down on streets close to the dock.


Watercolor of the VIRGINIA from a Hartford poster

Detail from a John Hartford concert poster - a watercolor by Matthews of the VIRGINIA circa 1898.


Wonderful keelboat painting on a Wild River

This is the best painting I've ever seen of the "before steam era" on the Inland Waterways accomplished by Harvey W. Johnson. Some years back I bought a large limited edition print from Johnson's son of his father's depiction of keelboat navigation Out West entitled WHITEWATER with eight rivermen taking an exhilarating ride on a fast moving wild river Out West.

The following short career biography is excerpted from:

Harvey W. Johnson's father was a noted sculptor, and his mother was an accomplished painter. Following in their footsteps, after World War II, Johnson studied at the Art Students League in New York City. He worked for many advertising studios and as an illustrator (often of frontier life) for many pulp magazines. For nineteen years, he was an instructor at the Famous Artists School in Connecticut (where he became friends with one of his artistic idols, Harold Von Schmidt). Finally, he devoted his artistic talents to interpreting the historic West, especially the era of the mountain men and the fur trade. Born in 1921, he passed on in 2005. Other examples of Johnson's paintings and the prices they fetched at auction at this link:


Wild and Wooly Phantasy Steamboat Art

"Whimsy strikes back!" Quaint 16 x 20 original illustration/painting of a fantasy steamboat with multiple decks and over 140 characters, the hierarchy of which suggests that they belong in the Old World or are colonizers in Latin America or Africa and not in the U.S. There are quite a few gentlemen attired like "diplomats" and a few uniformed "officers," and characters who look like "high priests." Only 2 probable deck hands in the main deck lower right. On top and two decks below are what look like 2 pilot houses, the one on top with a Captain or pilot at the helm and the one below may have been intended as an auxiliary pilot house or a mini-engine room with an engineer in attendance.

On the top deck there are two smokestacks above a paddlebox and a mirror image of the stacks below the paddlebox. To the left of the paddlebox and stacks is a 2 level annex with a tiny roofed-over observation post for one and below that are sequestered 5 gents who look like either security personnel flourishing billy clubs or conductors with batons.

Since this crazy craft has a shallow hull, it seems more suited to rivers than oceans. This may have been a concept illustration for a childrens book or a flight of fancy that was displayed in the bright red frame that it came in on the wall of a child's nursery.


On The Robert E Lee = Neil Diamond = The Jazz Singer
Fox Wild Published on Jun 14, 2015

Steamboat themed song from Neil Diamond's 1980 remake of the earliest talking picture, 1927's THE JAZZ SINGER which had starred Al Jolson

On The Robert E. Lee - Neil Diamond

Look at the way she's wavin' her sail
It's a wondrous sight to see
People hurry on down from every town
Have a look at the Robert E. Lee

Proud and strong and made to be free
Can't go wrong on the Robert E. Lee

Got the sun in my eyes
And the wind in my face
And it's good just to be alive
Gonna set out tonight for New Orleans
I won't sleep till I arrive

And if I'm lucky,
I'll find a young lady under the stars
And we'll dance the night away
Somebody wake me and say it's a dream
Leadin' me far from my home
And haven't you noticed
Despite what it seems
You can't deny it's you and I alone

Maybe spend my life just workin' the land
Maybe livin' from day to day
But I'm free tonight in New Orleans
If I like it, I just might stay

Proud and strong and made to be free
Can't go wrong on the Robert E. Lee

Got the sun in my eyes
And the wind in my face
And it's good just to be alive
Gonna set out tonight for New Orleans
I won't sleep till I arrive

Songwriters: Gilbert Becaud / Neil Diamond

On the Robert E. Lee

lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Universal Music Publishing Group


24 inch wide print in color Elevation of Snag boat W.T. PRESTON
Draftsman was Herbert E. Carlson 1975. The total length of the boat in the print is 24 inches wide and it's matted and framed with non-reflective glass. I scanned it in 2 halves and assembled it in Photoshop.

recent acquisitions

Emily's Reel is my favorite "anthem" to evoke Hannibal, Missouri and steamboating circa 1840's and '50's,
So much energy and subtle excitement . . . like being aboard a big packet going full speed ahead.

"Emily's Reel" was composed by Mark O'Connor and dedicated to Emily Ma.
Mark O'Connor, violin.
Yo-Yo Ma, cello.
Edgar Meyer, bass.
It was featured on the 2000 recording "Appalachian Journey."


Corps of Engineers' sternwheeler, W.T. PRESTON

Feb 14, 1968

Associated Press Wirephoto


The old and new in ships is demonstrated here as the Army Corps of Engineers' sternwheeler, W.T. PRESTON, lies near the PLAINVIEW, worlds largest hydrofoil vessel at the Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Co. in Seattle. The PRESTON, which pulls derelicts and other constructions from Puget Sound, is in the shipyard for her annual checkup. The PLAINVIEW is being readied for her final sea trials and will be used by the U.S. Navy for a variety of missions.


With the exception of images credited to public institutions,
everything on this page is from a private collection.
Please contact for permission for commercial use.*

All captions provided by Dave Thomson, primary contributor and historian.