FÉLIX ZIEM (FRENCH, 1821-1911)
Le bassin, vu du quai des Esclavons
signed 'Ziem.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
29 x 3738 in. (73.7 x 95 cm.)
John McClean (d. 1912), New York.
His estate sale; American Art Association, New York, 18-19 March 1912, lot 99, as Grand Canal, Venice.
Burton Mansfield (1861-1932), Connecticut, acquired at the above sale.
His estate sale; American Art Association, 7 April 1933, no. 83, as Grand Canal: Venice, illustrated.
Edward Ward McMahon (1884-1936), New York, acquired at the above sale.
with Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York.
P. Miquel, Felix Ziem, 1821-1911, Maurs-la-Jolie, 1978, vol. VIII, p. 200, no. 1429, illustrated, as Grand Canal, Venise.
A. Burdin-Hellebranth, Félix Ziem, 1821-1911, Paris, 1998, vol. I, p. 162, no. 400, illustrated.
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Lot Essay

Most famous for his views of Venice and Istanbul, Felix Ziem was a nomadic, unique and eccentric artist. After studying architecture in Dijon, the young artist worked as a surveyor on the construction of the Marseille canal before his watercolors attracted the patronage of Ferdinand-Philippe, Duc d’Orleans. While in Marseille, Ziem received some informal instruction in painting from Adolphe Monticelli. In 1842, he visited Italy for the first time and instantly fell in love with Venice. Painting developed from a hobby into a career, and Ziem traveled extensively during his life and was supported by a broad range of important patrons who were entranced by the artist’s beautiful depictions of the many lands he visited. Athough his views of Venice are his most compelling and sought-after works, the artist also painted in Constantinople, North Africa and the Forest of Fontainebleau. His many foreign journeys included visits to Russia in 1843-44, the Middle East and North Africa at least five times between 1847 and 1859 and London in 1849 and 1852. Ziem enjoyed enormous commercial success during his lifetime and owned studios in Paris and Martigues in the South France (now the location of Musée Ziem).
Uninterested in the realist movement that was the driving force of landscape art in the last decades of the 19th century, Ziem remained true to his own unique style through his life. A brilliant colorist, Ziem painted with a vibrant palette and was particularly interested in understanding the effects of sunlight on landscape, water and architecture. Le basin, vu du quai des Esclavons depicts an iconic view of Venice, with the Doge’s Palace and the entrance to the Piazza San Marco anchoring the right side of the composition and the dome of Santa Maria della Salute rising from the mist on the right side, drawing the viewer’s eye to misty orb of the setting sun in the background. The entire composition is enveloped in the golden glow of the setting sun, and captures perfectly the unique light effects of La Serenissima at the close of day.
We are grateful to the Association Félix Ziem, represented by Mathias Ary Jan, David Pluskwa and Gérard Fabre, for confirming the authenticity of this work, which will be included in their forthcoming Félix Ziem catalogue raisonné.
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