Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Smoky Sunrise, Astoria Harbor

Photo: Paul Macapia

Smoky Sunrise, Astoria Harbor


Cleveland Rockwell

Born Youngstown, Ohio, 1837; died Portland, Oregon, 1907

Rockwell came to the Pacific Northwest in 1868 to survey the coast and rivers, and he became a painter and a chronicler of the Columbia. Astoria Harbor was Rockwell's favorite subject for the variety of activity that was centered there-the coming and going of ocean clippers, river steamers, and the rafts and dinghies of salmon fishers and of loggers, which we see here. This painting was commissioned by Captain George Flavel, who for decades ran the principal tug service that towed ships upriver from Astoria to Portland.

Artist Cleveland Rockwell: "The north (or Washington Territory) side of the river is very bold, almost mountainous. Cliffs and precipices occur at almost every point. Above the remarkable neck of land called Tongue Point, where the river widens into a large sheet of water known as Cathlamet Bay, there are again large areas of tide lands, or swamps, intersected by numerous channels. Some of these channels are navigable, and are used by the small steamers plying between Astoria and Portland."

Oil on canvas
20 x 34 in. (50.8 x 86.36 cm), stretcher bars
31 1/2 x 45 in. (80 x 114.3 cm), frame size
Gift of Len and Jo Braarud, Ann and Tom Barwick, Marshall and Helen Hatch; and gift, by exchange, of Lawrence Bogle, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Collins, Eustace Ziegler, Mary E. Humphrey and Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Provenance: Commissioned by Captain George Flavel (died 1893), Astoria, Oregon; by descent in his family to his great grand-daughter, Patricia Flavel, Oakland, California; sold through [Butterfield and Butterfield, San Francisco, California]; sold to [Braarud Fine Art, La Conner, Washington]
Photo: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryTacoma, Washington, Tacoma Museum of Art, Landscape in America, 1850-1890, Oct. 3, 1997 - Jan. 4, 1998. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, The Paving of Paradise: A Century of Photographs of the Western Landscape, May 7, 1998 - Jan. 24, 1999. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, The View From Here: The Pacific Northwest, 1870-1940, July 1, 2004 - Mar. 27, 2005. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, American Art: The Stories We Carry, Oct. 20, 2022 - ongoing.

Published ReferencesHarrison, Alfred C., Jr. "Cleveland Rockwell." Art of California (October/November 1989): pp. 14, 17-18, reproduced p. 15, pl. 1.

Gerdts, William H. Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting, 1710-1920, Vol. III. New York: Abbeville Press, 1990; p. 186, reproduced fig. 3.133.

Johns, Barbara. Modern Art from the Pacific Northwest, in the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1990; p. 4, reproduced.

Sharylen, Maria. "Where Eagles Fly: Artists of the Pacific Northwest." American Art Review 6, no. 2 (April-May 1994): p. 141, reproduced.

Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 39, no. 1(Spring 2007): reproduced front cover.

Junker, Patricia. "A Sense of Place: American Art and the Seattle Art Museum." The Magazine Antiques (November 2008): p. 112, reproduced p. 109, fig. 2.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM