San Francisco Stories


Painting by K. Haskell.

The original, signed oil painting by K. Haskell or K. Maskell (image above and signature below) apparently has been painted repeatedly.

Dozens have been found in attics, garage sales, and street fairs throughout the United States.

Approximately one eMail each month reaches us from someone who has found an original by this artist.

Update, March 2015


Various paintings by Haskell have been for sale via the internet through the years at prices ranging from $30 to $300 on sites such as in Oakland, California; from at $39.99; on eBay (of course), with a starting bid of $19.99; and through various CraigsList ads. The Craigslist ad is in a wooden frame with an asking price of $125.

Who Was Ernest Haskell?

A site named AskArt reports that Ernest Haskell (1876-1925) was an illustrator, painter and etcher. Ernest Haskell was a well-known figure in New York and Paris during the early part of the 20th century. In 1976, a memorial centennial exhibition of his birth was held at the New York Public Library. Haskell was especially noted for his etchings, a skill he learned as a student of James McNeill Whistler. He also designed promotional posters in watercolor and was part of the San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915, which was a world’s fair held for almost the full year of 1915 in San Francisco, California. The Exposition commemorated the completion of the Panama Canal and the 400th Anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by the explorer Balboa. The occasion was also a celebration of the city's recovery from the 1906 earthquake and fire.

June 24, 2012

We came across a series of prints of ships painted by and/or distributed by Don Maskell & Co., Pier 35, San Francisco, the style of which is very similar to the above painting. These prints are similar in style to those of the painting above, so we will be going down that road seeking an answer. In quick searches through old newspapers and art databases, nothing has turned up.

More inquiries have arrived in the past few years regarding this painting. There are at least 20 out there that have found this site. Most have been found at street art fairs (which is where I found mine) and there are mixed reviews as to how valuable it may or may not be.

As "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," I consider it valuable. I tried selling it. No interest. And I'm delighted. It is lovely, and it still graces my wall.

Measurements: 36" x 24". Oil on canvas. Stretched. No frame.

Other than that, little information has turned up regarding the artist: Bonhams & Butterfields Appraisals/Auctioneers wrote:

Because there are no auction records for this artist, unfortunately, Bonhams & Butterfields would not be the appropriate venue for the sale of the Haskell. Our ability to help you research the painting would thus be limited.

From the California Historical Society:

"Thank you for your inquiry regarding works by an artist named Haskell or Kaskell. Although we have a small number of maritime-related works in our collection, there are none by Haskell that I can find. And, I am a bit doubtful of the name Kaskell; even though in one of my own previous research tangents I discovered that an 'H' was actually an 'X', I also understand that initials can be misread from unclear or i.orgplete handwriting.

A quick search on the website did reveal several artists by the name Haskell, as did the Getty Institute's Union List of Artist Names database they may be referring to the same people. The Smithsonian Institute Research Information System (SIRIS) has nearly 500 records based upon the search of Haskell . . .

Early Haskells to California include:

  • D. H. Haskell (arrived on the SS Tennessee on March 6, 1853)
  • J. L. Haskell (arrived on the SS Golden Gate on January 9, 1852), J. Haskell (arrived on the SS Indiana on January 8, 1852)
  • J. Haskell (arrived on the SS North America on March 23, 1853)
  • Henry W. Haskell was a member of an early mining.orgpany
  • A. W. Haskell was in port from Boston in 1851.
  • John Haskell Kemble, editor of The Panama Canal: the Evolution of the Isthmian Crossing.

If you have questions or can shed any light on the origins and/or the artists, please contact: DALevy @ Thank you.

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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