Scott Houston McBee (born 1962)

Gouache and India ink on paper



Height: 39 inches (99.06 cm.)

Width: 92 ¾ inches (236.22 cm.)



Built by Rotterdamsche Droogook Maats, Rotterdam

Length: 748 feet

Width: 94 feet

Gross tons: 37,783

Service speed: 20.5 knots

Rotterdam-New York service, launched in 1959

Passengers: 1,055 (401 first class, 1,055 tourist)


The Rotterdam was the largest passenger liner ever built in the Netherlands and she was the first ship designed without the traditional funnel, instead using twin side-by-side uptakes.  She had the best interchangeable design elements between first and tourist class, allowing them to be used as one when the ship sailed on all first class cruises.  The decoration used was fine woods such as Bangkok teak, Japanese ashwood, olive and French walnut. The ocean liner was fully air-conditioned, had a shopping arcade, a gym and indoor and outdoor pools.

The ship was built too late for a long career in the class-divided Atlantic runs. Airlines held 95 percent of the business by the mid-1960s.  The ship was then made over as a full-time cruise liner, running weekly seven-day cruises to Bermuda and Nassau.  By the 1990s the ship sailed out of Vancouver, spent summers in Alaska, and the remainder of the year in the Caribbean.

In 2004, the ship was purchased by S.S. Rotterdam BV (part of RDM holding) and is currently in Wilhelmshaven for renovation.

In creating each work, Scott McBee enlarges the original builder’s plan onto a piece of graphite paper. The outline of ship is thereafter transferred onto the work. He then completes the outline in India ink, which is both waterproof and fade-proof. McBee then applies three coats of gouache. In the same process as shipbuilding, he begins by painting the hull and working from the keel up. The ship’s name marks the end of the painting process. Each work takes approximately three weeks to complete.

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