Oyster House (The Dock)

JonesLeonFoster - The Dock.jpg

Dublin Core



We see a dock or port building with two ships moored. Jones uses ink sparingly, but cross-hatches aggressively to convey the dark paint of the dock and shadows on the water. For lighter objects, he implies more than illustrates shape through his clear mastery of weight and shadow—the water, the sky, and the grass are left as negative space—upon blank white paper, with only a few lines scattered to imply shape and texture. The mountains at the edge of the canvas, too, lose definition and shape, vanishing into loose lines towards the left, but remain stark as they fade out of view within frame. The dock building itself commands attention at the center of the canvas, it’s entrance face rounding out the right side of the composition, its dark shading balancing out the stark white of the smaller ship and the water. The contrast of the water, mountains, and dock is surprisingly uniform across the canvas, as Jones masterfully balances positive and negative space—he leaves enough blank to not let ink dominate the canvas. A note about the painting: for at least twenty-five years this etching has been listed as missing; it was re-located in April 2019. It probably depicts the Suwasset Oyster Company in Port Jefferson, NY, which was destroyed by winter storms in 1934.

About the Artist: Born in Manchester, NH, Jones studied painting at the Cowles Art School in Boston under Ernest Major and Joseph de Camp. His early career involved commercial illustration for the publisher Frank A. Munsey, an indication of that style during this period possibly shown in his whimsical illustrations for a children’s book called Monkey Shines (1904). Among the places where Jones’ work was exhibited include the Salmagundi Club (1907, 1917, 1929), the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco (1915), and the Brooklyn Museum of Art (1930-31). In addition to the etching housed at the NDG, Jones’ other work for the WPA appeared at a rotating exhibition in Patchogue, NY (1936) and a posthumous print exhibition at Keuka College, Penn Yan, NY (1941). From about 1933 to 1940, he taught art at the Stony Brook School for Boys, a Christian co-ed college preparatory school. He lived for many years in Port Jefferson, NY. 12 works at The Athenaeum. 1 work at the Birmingham Museum of Art. 1 work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 1 more image at FAP.


Jones, Leon Foster, 1871-1940







Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

15 x 7.5 in.
Condition: surface dirt on glass