Art Of The Day

Ahoy, there UIMA supporters! Arrrr! I hope ye be havin’ a good #TalkLikeAPirateDay 


Today, we celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a holiday that’s been celebrated across the world since 2002! To celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day, today, we will be setting our sights on the painting, “Red Sails” by American artist Lucy Scott Bower! 


Born on January 18th, 1864, in Rochester, Iowa, Bower was the daughter of James Yelverton and Hannah Scott. After studying at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, Scott traveled to New York, where she studied at the New York School of Art. Lucy married John Monroe Bower, who was born in Philadelphia, and the pair moved to Paris together. In Paris, Lucy resumed her studies at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere as well as the Academy Julian.  


In addition to being known for her paintings of market scenes and landscapes of New York and Pairs, Lucy was a talented poetess. During her career, Lucy exhibited her work at the Salon d’Autumn and Salon des Artistes Francaise in Paris, the Academy of Design in New York, as well as the Royal Academy in London. In 1917, Lucy was awarded the gold prize at the Arc-en-Ciel for her artwork, and in 1929, she won first prize at the National Association of American Pen Women. Tragically, on November 13th, 1934, Lucy died from accidental asphyxiation by gas from the cooking stove in her Paris apartment.  


Bower’s painting that we view today, “Red Sails” is a seascape that depicts three men gathered around the wreck of a large boat. While one man has gotten closer to the carnage to investigate the vessel, two other men stand farther back and confer about what they are seeing. Bower’s made use of an extensive pallet in this artwork, and the colorful red-orange sails of the boat contrast nicely with the blues of the sky and water. Swirling brushstrokes create movement in the water, which has the appearance of a raging sea - the perfect environment for a salty-talking pirate. 


Started by businessmen John Baur and Mark Summers, Talk Like a Pirate Day came to be in June of 1995, when the pair was playing a vigorous game of racquetball. For an unknown reason, the two men started giving each other encouragement in “pirate slang,” and the idea for a holiday where everyone in the world would talk like a pirate was born. September 19th was chosen as the holiday’s date since it is Baur’s ex-wife’s birthday and only day he could easily recall that wasn’t already taken by a celebration. After celebrating their holiday by themselves for seven years, the duo emailed nationally syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning writer Dave Berry, who decided to write about the holiday in his column.  


  • Additional Information

    This #getsmART post was brought to you by the University of Iowa Museum of Art Legacies for Iowa: A Collections-Sharing Project, Supported by the Matthew Bucksbaum Family. Research contributed by Olivia von Gries, a 3rd year University of Iowa student working towards a psychology and studio art double major. 


    “How It All Started.” Accessed September 14, 2017. 

    “Lucy Scott Bower.” Find A Grave. Last modified March 2, 2016. 

    “Lucy Scott Bower.” Prabook. Accessed September 14, 2017. view.html?profileId=1109146 

Lucy Scott Bower

Red Sails

, 1903-1934
Oil on canvas, 35 3/4 x 30 3/4 in. (90.81 x 78.11 cm)
Gift of Elsie Ball Deming, 1935.15