Many wonderful artists have depicted American destroyers and aspects of destroyer life. Here we present a selection of their work plus links to their representations on this website and to external sites where more of their works may be viewed or purchased.
Arthur Beaumont (1890–1978)
— Born in England, Arthur Edwaine Beaumont immigrated to America via Canada at nineteen. In 1932, a portrait of Admiral William D. Leahy prompted the admiral to invite him to paint the fleet. As an officer in the Naval Reserve, he captured World War II operations in a series of watercolors, some of which were published in National Geographic magazine. In the 1940s and 1950s, articles about his works appeared in many newspapers and magazines. Throughout his career, he regularly exhibited in California with a permanent collection established at California’s Irvine Museum
George S. Eisenberg (1921–)
— George Eisenberg’s career as an artist spanned nearly 70 years. After he was graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in 1942, he joined the Navy and served in USS La Vallette
for the duration of the war, capturing life on board in more than 360 drawings and paintings. He also wrote eloquently about destroyer life. Returning to New England, he was a feature illustrator for the Boston Post Magazine from 1949 and, in 1954, became a freelance illustrator in New York City. Over time, he diversified through public and private commissions in the fine arts. He lives in Massachusetts.
Tom W. Freeman (1952–)
— Tom Freeman, the United States Naval Institute’s first artist in residence, was born at Pontiac, Michigan and served in the military from 1970 to 1977. As he lacked formal training, his professional art career started when he left the military and created a cover for the Naval Institute Proceedings
. Since then, he has been commissioned by many different publishers. His work has been exhibited in many galleries across the United States, at the Arizona Memorial in Hawaii and at the White House.
Bernard F. Gribble (1872–1962)
— Born at Chelsea, West London, England, Bernard Finegan Gribble chose painting as a career. After an education in Belgium and the South Kensington Art School, he and his wife Nellie settled in Poole, Dorset. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I, purchased a 1919 painting showing the arrival of the first American destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland in 1917 (left), suggested the name Return of the Mayflower
to the artist and, when he became president in 1933, hung it in the Oval Office at the White House. After the artist’s death in 1962, Mrs. Gribble donated many of his works to the Poole Museum
Richard C. Moore (1932–)
— Richard C. Moore’s love for ships and the sea began in childhood, when his father was employed by a steamship company in Philadelphia. Following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in history, he served for three years as an officer in Saufley
and John Paul Jones
in the Atlantic. After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary with a Master’s degree in theology, he returned to the Navy as chaplain of a destroyer division in the Pacific for two years. Following his active Navy duty, he served two churches as pastor and also pursued his passion for marine painting. He is a charter member of the American Society of Marine Artists and served for a time as president. His paintings are in many collections here and abroad.
Burnell Poole (1884–1933)
— Burnell Poole was born in 1884 at Boston. In 1918 he traveled to Europe as “naval correspondent” for Everybody’s Magazine
of New York City. There he became official artist of the British Fleet and also produced approximately twenty works on US Navy subjects such as USS Stockton
in dirty weather, crossing close under the bow of a troopship en route to Europe (left), which secured for him a reputation among the leading marine painters of the early 20th century. He died in 1933 at Englewood, New Jersey.
Dwight Shepler (1905–1974)
— Dwight Clark Shepler was born at Everett, Massachusetts and graduated from Williams College in 1928. In 1942, after studying at the Boston Museum School of Fine Art, he became one of seven artists commissioned in the US Navy’s officer-artist program. During the war he observed and photographed action in the South Pacific, Normandy and the Philippines, each time returning home to produce a total of more than 300 paintings. After retiring as commander and receiving the Bronze Star, he continued his career as artist and educator and served as President of the Guild of Boston Artists. He died in 1974.
R. G. Smith (1914–2001)
— Born in 1914 in Los Angeles, Robert Grant Smith was attracted to aviation by Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 trans-Atlantic solo flight. He began his career in 1936 as a configuration engineer with Douglas Aircraft but developed his exacting talent as an artist, eventually producing more than 2,000 paintings. Widely regarded as the master among American aviation artists, he was designated by the United States Navy as an “Honorary Naval Aviator” in 1973. A selection of his paintings is on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Paul Wright (1947–)
— Born in 1947, Paul Wright studied at the Farnham School of Art in the 1960s. His work ranges from illustrations for the Patrick O’Brian, Dudley Pope, Douglas Reeman and C. S. Forester novels to murals for the Cunard superliner Queen Mary II.
He is represented in the Permanent Collection at the Royal Navy Museum at Portsmouth, the United States Naval War College Museum
at Newport, Rhode Island, in private collections around the world and on a new website featuring his latest work: RMS Titanic