Crossing the Line

Frederic S Cozzens


A series of strong yacht racing prints by Frederic S. Cozzens (1856-1928), who is considered to be one of the best American nineteenth century marine illustrators. Known best for his depiction of yachting scenes, Cozzens drew all types of watercraft. He is known to have sketched marine scenes as early as 1868. Cozzens contributed many illustrations to such publications as Harper's Weekly, The Daily Graphic, and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine. Cozzens also exhibited at the New York Watercolor Society. In 1880 the New York Yacht Club commissioned a set of six watercolors which are still hanging in the club today. By 1883, Cozzens was a well established marine illustrator, and decided to turn his watercolors into prints. His first publication was American Yachts, Their Clubs and Races, which contained 27 chromolithographs. These views are considered to be Cozzens' finest work, vividly conveying the atmosphere and thrill of the yacht races they depict. The portfolio of full color chromolithographs was released in a limited edition of signed "artist's proofs" and later in a second printing as "color prints" The set included twenty-five scenes of yachting activity, a signal chart featuring the flags of sixty-six yacht clubs, and an extra plate (which must have been included at the last possible moment) of the 1885 America's Cup race between Puritan and Genesta. Cozzens' work was so well received that he produced four other series of prints: Typical American Yachts (1886); Yachts and Yachting (1887); Our Navy, Its Growth and Achievements (1892); and Old Naval Prints (1892). By the turn of the century, Cozzens turned to drawing more beach scenes, seascapes and European vessels than he did yachting scenes, but it is for the latter which he is most famous. These are excellent examples from his most famous series, American Yachts. It wonderfully conveys the realism and vividness of Cozzens' best work.
Published: New York 1884
Chromolithographs by Armstrong & Co.
Dimensions: Paper size: 15 1/4” x 21 1/4”; Framed 24 3/4” x 30 7/8”
  • Price: $2,000.00 { What determines value? }

    Many factors go into pricing a print; rarity, desirability, artist, condition, age, and the history of former sales prices.

    “Weeds & Roses” A good analogy for how the pricing of a print is determined from desirability is my description of "Weeds and Roses". It actually works with a number of publications from Audubons to Atlases. 

    O.K., let's take a complete first edition set of Audubon's Birds of America- 435 Plates, printed by Robert Havell. The Wild Turkey & The Flamingo will be the “Roses”, they are the major plates. These images are usually more desirable making them the most expensive, in upwards of $200,000.

    The Song Birds or "Tweety" birds are the minor plates, or "Weeds". These images are usually less desirable making them less expensive, as low as $2,000.

    However, not everyone prefers roses over weeds. Just because one is more expensive does not mean it is more beautiful to you. Art is a personal preference and you should always go with what stands out to you :)