18. Item #89647
KERN, Edward Meyer. PEAK HORNER, SOUTHERN EXTREME OF JAPAN. Watercolor and ink on paper. 24 x 35.5 cm (9 6/16 x 13 15/16 in.). Signed lower left, "Kern delt," titled as above in the lower right. Undated but circa 1854-55. Nineteenth-century frame with label of Baltimore framers Eckhard & Mehler on recto. 28 x 38.8 cm (11 1/8 x 15 1/2 in.). In anticipation of Captain Matthew Perry's success in opening Japan to the West on his 1852(-54) cruise, Congress authorized the United States Navy Department to organize the North Pacific Exploring Expedition to conduct a naval, commercial and scientific survey from the West Coast to China and Japan. From 1853-56, the Expedition traversed the North Pacific Ocean, the Bering Strait, and the China Sea, preparing accurate charts of areas frequented by American whaling ships and documenting safe and direct shipping lanes from the West Coast to China and Japan, all the while gathering specimens and recording the marine life, topography, flora and fauna encountered. Edward Meyer Kern (1823-1863) was already an experienced expeditionary artist, though all on terra firma in the American West (most notably Fremont's Third and Fourth Expeditions), when he was chosen for the North Pacific Exploring Expedition. He was an artist and photographer, a topographer and cartographer, and also worked as a zoological assistant. This view of Peak Horner is proof of his skill. Peak Horner, so named by Krusenstern after the astronomer on his circumnavigation of the world (1803-1806), is called Kaimon Dake by the Japanese. It is located at the extreme southwest of Kyushu island near the entrance to the city of Kagoshima's port from the sea. It has always been an important harbor and `Peak Horner' would be an important landmark for captains in unfamiliar waters to locate and, from which, to triangulate positions of nearby islands, headlands, and harbor. Kern captures its lofty height (924 meters) and distinctive, unmistakably volcanic, profile as it rises from the water, dominating the coast that leads into the harbor. It is informative and picturesque, quite lovely. The painting itself is also evidence of the newly opened Japan and that the expedition was doing its jo.