09-25-2020 09-26-2020
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Marlborough MA
3455B Marlborough
September 25, 2020 12:00 PMCalender

Dennis Malone Carter (American, c. 1818-1881) Decatur Boarding a Tripolitan Gunboat

Auction: American & European Works of Art - 3455B Location: Marlborough Date / Time: September 25, 2020 12:00PM


Dennis Malone Carter (American, c. 1818-1881)

Decatur Boarding a Tripolitan Gunboat
Signed and dated "D.M. Carter/1853" l.r.
Oil on canvas, 23 x 34 3/4 in. (58.5 x 88.2 cm), framed.
Condition: Lined, scattered retouch to sky.

N.B. This battle scene appears to be one of at least two versions made by Dennis Malone Carter depicting Lieutenant Stephen Decatur boarding a Tripolitan gunboat during the bombardment of Tripoli on August 3, 1804. A very similar but larger and more detailed version (43 x 59 inches, unsigned), painted by Carter either in 1841 or 1858, is part of the Navy Art Collection, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC. Both compositions portray Decatur (lower right center) in mortal combat with a Tripolitan adversary. Created as a "history painting" recalling heroic events of The Barbary Wars, the flag at center is a fanciful misinterpretation of a flag in use by the Barbary Pirates. US Navy records reveal that the original owner of their painting believed Carter's work to be a copy after a painting by Alonzo Chappel (American, 1828-1887) purportedly in the Louvre, although this claim has not been verified, and no such work can be located currently on the museum's web site.
Estimate $800-1,200

Framed dimensions are 28 1/2 x 40 1/4 x 2 in.

The retouch in the sky is professionally done, is not intrusive, and is predominantly in the upper left and right corners. Wax lined.

Items may have wear and tear, imperfections, or the effects of aging. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Alonzo Chappel, Washington, DC, Tripoli