Dick LaBonté Anchor & Palette Gallery

Barnegat Mermaids

These mythical creatures are cavorting with boaters and fishermen near Barnegat Lighthouse a century ago. LaBonte took a great interest in the clamming industry on Barnegat Bay, intending one day to write a book about it. Instead, he painted the fishermen and mermaids. The napping fisherman in green in the red boat is missing all the fun. Do you think he'll believe his friends when they tell him about the mermaids? The boat "Lu-An" is named after the artist's two daughters. . Perhaps LaBonté was inspired by this article from 1869. “Mermaid found in New Jersey,” Port Jervis Evening Gazette, Port Jervis, New York, August 10, 1869. “The people of Tom’s River, N.J., are just now having a little sensation – it being nothing less than the capture of a veritable mermaid or at least a water animal strongly resembling that poetic species of fish. Two fishermen, while pursuing their vocation a few days ago in the Inlet, effected the capture after a violent struggle. At seeing the animal its captors became hugely frightened, and took to their heels. After a while they mustered up sufficient courage to return and look at their prize. In appearance it more resembled a human being than a fish, having a face frightfully like that of a man or woman, with body and breasts exactly resembling the latter. The lower part terminated in a fish tail. The fishermen, after looking at the monster, became so superstitious, that they threw it back into the sea. It’s a pity they did not preserve it.”

Image size: 13x15.

Giclee print. Limited edition of 250. Unsigned.