Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast  (2)
Lot 62*
Claude Joseph Vernet
(Avignon 1714-1789 Paris)
A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast (2)
£1.5 million - 2 million
US$ 2.5 million - 3.3 million
amended

Lot Details
Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast  (2) Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast  (2) Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast  (2) Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast  (2) Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast  (2) Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris) A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast  (2)
Claude Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714-1789 Paris)
A harbour scene at sunset; and A shipwreck on a rocky coast
the former signed and dated 'J Vernet.f.1775' (lower right)
a pair, oil on canvas
73.8 x 107.8cm (29 1/16 x 42 7/16in). (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Painted for Gabriel Courtois de Pressigny (1745-1823)
    M. d'Aubigny, until after 1900 (probably General Arsene d'Aubigny, died Paris 1913)
    Sale, Paris, Palais Galliera, 20 June, 1961, lots 85 and 86
    Private Collection, England
    With Whitfield Fine Art, London, where purchased by the present owner

    Exhibited
    Paris, Salon, 1775, no. 32 (both paintings lent by M. de Pressigny)

    Literature
    The description of one of the pair is in the MS list, the artist's Livre de raison, in the Bibliothèque d'Avignon (see Lagrange, Joseph Vernet, sa vie et son oeuvre, 1858, under No. L. 182: 14 mars 1775: deux mille quatre cents livres 'pour prix d'un tableau de trois pieds que je lui ai fait, et quatre vingt-six livres pour la bordure.')
    Described in the Livret du Salon, 1775: '32, Deux Tableaux, l'un un mer calme au coucher du soleil, l'autre le commencement d'une tempête, avec le naufrage d'un vaisseau. Chacun de 3 pieds 3 pouces de large, sur 2 pieds 2 pouces de haut; ils appartiennent a M. de Pressigny' (Diderot, Salons, ed. Jean Seznec, Oxford, 1967, Vol. IV, p. 27, nos. 997 and 998).

    When the second of the present pair of paintings was described in detail in the critique of the Salon of 1775, it was obvious to what extent it appealed to the Romantic sensibilities of pre-Revolutionary France: 'Peint-il une tempête, le jour est obscuri par les nuages les plus afreux. La foudre et les éclairs se croiset de'un bout à l'autre de l'horizon et le font paraître tout en feu. Les vagues en courroux semblent menacer le ciel et blanchissent la mer de leur écume. Les vaisseuax sont pres d'être submergés. On aperçoit à la lueur pale des éclairs, toutes les horreurs de la mort sur les figures de tout leurs habitans et la spectateur sensible ne peut de défendre d'un saisissement pareil à celui qu'il l'éprouverait s'il était sur le rivage témoin de tant d'horreurs.' (Bibliothèque Nationale, Estampes YD 219).

    Vernet's intention in conceiving the present paintings as a pair - juxtaposing the serene and tranquil atmosphere of the harbour sunset alongside the tumultuous and dramatic shipwreck - perfectly suited his artistic ambition to create an idealized view of Nature's majesty. That the artist was far more at home with this genre can be gleaned from some of the acrimoniouis exchanges he had over the series of the Ports de France which he painted between 1753 and 1765, in which he found it at times difficult to reconcile the topographical requirements of his patrons with his own desire to create satisfying works of art. He finally gave up the task, leaving the series incomplete and returning once more to his preferred depictions of Italianate seascapes, such as the present pair. In this he was highly successful: to his Italian and French clients he came to add British collectors, German princes and Russian nobles. From the 1760s to the 1780s no collection was deemed complete without examples of Vernet's art.

    The original owner, Gabriel Courtois de Pressigny, was born in Dijon. He was appointed archbishop of Saint Malo and took part in the Assemblées of 1780 and 1788 where he represented his Order in the debate on the constitutional role of the clergy. He emigrated in 1792, but returned after the 18 brumaire (November 1799) and lived in retirment until the Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. He was then nominated to be Ambassador to the court in Rome. Ennobled in 1818, he was appointed Archbishop of Besançon in 1819.

    The paintings were seen by the late D. Philip Conisbee of the National Gallery of Art, Washington in 1999, when he confirmed them as autograph.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that live internet bidding will not be offered on this lot.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
* Import low rate

VAT on imported items at a preferential rate of 5% on Hammer Price and the prevailing rate on Buyer's Premium.

Contacts
  1. Poppy Harvey-Jones
    Specialist - Old Master Paintings
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8308
    FaxFax: +44 20 7447 7439
Similar Items