One of the most agreeable aspects of working for American Heritage is the fact that we are constantly coming across little-known but absolutely first-rate paintings. For the last six years we have been sharing them with our readers in our annual “Winter Art Show.” • We believe that each of the pictures here is eloquent of the American past, although each may yield up its information in a different way. The Nahl brothers’ view of sparless ships afire in the derelict-crowded harbor of gold-rush San Francisco obviously depicts a “historic” event. On the other hand, you have to know a bit about the great bridge player Ely Culbertson to see how the tough, worldly face in Schattenstein’s portrait reflects his extraordinary brawl of a life. • Just as a good painting is almost always about more than it depicts, so does its historical value extend beyond its subject. Otto Bacher’s Midwestern hotel loafers do not offer a hint of the epic the way Glackens’s cavalrymen do, but you have only to look at the buildings on the hill in the background to know that this painting is absolutely true to its moment, that on a certain day in 1885 the sunlight lay exactly that way—so tangibly that you can still feel its warmth a century later.