Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1850, Antonio Jacobsen attended the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, where he primarily focused on realism. He then moved to America in order to avoid being drafted into the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.
Upon moving to New York, Jacobsen began painting portraits of ships held in the Old Dominion Steamship Line. Between 1876 and 1919 the prolific artist executed more than 5900 portraits of vessels ranging from freighters, steamships, sailing vessel, schooners and yachts. Many of Jacobsen’s patrons were ship masters or boat owners in search of an accurately detailed record of their vessel. Jacobsen would make detailed sketches in pencil which he documented in catalogued notebooks before beginning his painting
In 1880, Jacobsen moved to West Hoboken, New Jersey, where he remained for the rest of his life. A majority of his canvases are signed A. Jacobsen or Antonio Jacobsen with one of his West Hoboken addresses below the signature. He died in West Hoboken in 1921.
Jacobsen’s work is in many museums throughout the U.S. including the Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, VA; Mystic Seaport Museum (CT); Peabody Museum, Salem (MA); New York Historical Society (NY); Fall River Marine Museum (MA); Louisiana State Museum (LA) and the Shelburne Museum (VA).