I just went to the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle, Washington, and my mind is still swirling with all the goodies to share with you. One fun fact is that I took over the National Fisherman booth for a Dockside Chat I called the “Partners of Commercial Fishermen Parlor.”
The idea of hosting a get-together instead of a speaking event is inspired by centuries of fishermen’s wives caring for families and fishing communities. I printed and displayed examples of the 19th-century art you’re about to see as an homage to the Partners of Commercial Fishermen before us. Just like the powerful and resilient women seen in these images, it also represents the strength and love that modern POCFs continuously give to fishing families and communities today.
All of the emotions we go through as partners of commercial fishermen have been shared by POCFs for centuries. We are connected through threads of resilience, love, and pride.
After Googling “commercial fishing partners” and diving into a wormhole, I came across artist Virginie Demont-Breton (1859-1935). Through oil paintings, she captured the real, everyday life of POCFs that we all can relate to (and this was back in the late 1800s)!
Quick background: Virginie came from a family of French painters and started painting professionally as a teen. But it wasn’t until after she moved to the small seaside town of Wissant on the Côte d’Opale with her painter husband, Adrien Demont, that she began painting fishermen and their families.
I really love her work, and I hope to soon hang a print on my wall in honor of us and the POCFs before us. We are not alone!
Here are 8 of my favorites. (Pay close attention to the expressions of the women. Think about what they might be thinking. Think about which one you relate with the most. You’ll notice the strong and powerful images of these women are also reflections of you!)
8 Relatable 19th Century Art of Partners of Commercial Fishermen by Virginie Demont-Breton
1. “Fisherman’s Wife Bathing her Children”
2. “Lady on Beach Mending Fishing Net”
3. “The Doorway”
4. “Into the Water”
5. “Her Man is at Sea”
6. “The Man is at Sea” (after Demont-Breton), by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
7. “The Beach”
8. “The Tormented”
Which Virginie Demont-Breton image speaks loudest to you and why? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below!
Here are Ways to Hang with More POCFs!
Private Forum: If you want to connect virtually with others in our community, we’d love for you to join us in the private forum! The forum is a space for us to chat with POCFs worldwide to share experiences and feelings without judgment. There are also monthly Zoom chats, private podcasts, an ongoing resource bank to help make the commercial fishing lifestyle easier, and more! If it feels aligned for you, click here to join the private forum!