Award Recipients

John Noble

John A. Noble

Award Year: 1981

James Monroe Award/Robert G. Albion-James Monroe Award

The James Monroe Award/Robert G. Albion-James Monroe Award is awarded to maritime historians, deep-water mariners, preservationists, authors, artists, and educators. As the James Monroe Award, it was given by the South Street Seaport Museum from 1968-1972. In 1973, the Society became the awarding institution, and in 1993, the name of the award was changed to recognize the role of the late Robert Albion (1896–1983) in the development of maritime historiography.

John A. Noble (1913–1983)

Born in Paris in 1913, John Noble moved with his family to the US in 1919. He began drawing and painting in his teens: “About 1929 I started my crude drawings and paintings,” In the wintertime, while still going to school, I was a permanent fixture on the old McCarren line tugs, which had the monopoly on the schooner towing in New York Harbor.  This kept them constantly before my eyes.  In the summertime, I would go to sea.”

Noble graduated from the Friends Seminary in New York City, returning to France in 1931, studying a year at the University of Grenoble, and returning to New York, where he studied for one year at the National Academy of Design. During this time, John Noble worked as a seaman on schooners and in marine salvage; in 1941, Noble began to build a floating studio out of parts of vessels he salvaged, and by 1946 he was working full-time as an artist, often exploring New York Harbor in a rowboat.  He captured the vessels and people of the harbor in his sketches, paintings, lithographs, and charcoal drawings, and is remembered for having created the most extensive record of its essential workings.

Categories: Marine Artist