OPINION: Luxury yacht art enjoys a moment in the Florida sun


On the razzle dazzle: Two dazzle ships separated by nearly 100 years.

Art on luxury yachts is enjoying a moment in the Florida sun. Not the waterscapes of Paul Signac or works by Georges-Pierre Seurat starring in superyacht lounges but artwork on a vessel’s hull.

Tracing its origins back to the Dazzle Ships of World War 1 – invented by Pablo Picasso (so he claimed) and the Cubists – the original naval camouflage artwork was intended to protect vessels against the U-boat menace. More than a century later, the aim is the reverse – not to blend in but to stand out: to make a bold statement about the vessel’s owner.

For evidence, we have the partnership between Sunreef Yachts and the Miami-based artist, Alexander Mijares; described as one of the top 10 most influential US artists. His first work attributed to a luxury yacht is a disruptive design, not too dissimilar from the Razzle Dazzle ships of the Great War, adorning a 70 Sunreef Power catamaran. Commenting on the design, Mijares said: “Pieces of Me [the hull design] is a painting inspired by feeling protected, as if a guardian angel is with me along my journey.”

‘A guardian angel is with me’

While such celestial protection would be valued by every mariner, it remains to be seen if the trend towards art adorning superyacht hulls will become increasingly popular. The design gracing the 24-metre 70 Sunreef Power was said to have attracted rave reviews when displayed at Art Basel Miami last November.

Nor is it alone. The 35-metre Guilty sports a modernist design of alternating yellow, black, blue and white rectangles, plus pink triangles. Built in 2008 by Cantieri Navali Rizzardi, the exterior design was produced by a collaboration between American artist Jeff Koons and Italian yacht designer Ivana Porfiri.

Superyacht White

But whether a significant number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) would care to have their maritime pride and joy similarly adorned remains to be seen. So, perhaps the paint makers responsible for Superyacht White can rest easy for a few years more.

You can compare a 21st century Razzle Dazzle ship with its Great War predecessor in the photographs above. Meanwhile, for all the latest financial news about Picasso, Signac, Seurat  and a wealth of others, please visit our sister publication Private Art Investor.

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