It was said of Fitz Hugh Lane that he had no romantic attachments. One might wonder when viewing his paintings if men and women were unimportant details, little nothings compared to the sea. His neighbors spoke not of a misanthropic man but of a generous, happy soul.
As a child it is believed he’d been poisoned by an Apple-of-Peru plant and forever more suffered paralysis in his legs. He lived by the sea where legless ships glided over nearly still waters with only the slightest breezes puffing sails. At least this was how he often painted the sea. How does a boy with no sails, no useful legs find his harbor? Find his movement? Paint brushes transport and canvas carries the artist home.
Maybe his stillness led to the luminous oceans of his work. Maybe being forced to sit still brought to mind the rushed, oh-so-self-important moments of others and how easily the sea of life took them all away, daily, yearly. Maybe a boy with useless legs understood the transporting power of being still.
Or maybe he just liked boats.
Serene Art Historians Speaking: