Felix Ziem (Beaune 1821 - Paris 1911)

The Tuna Harvest at Sunset Sold

Watercolour, red chalk and pen and brown ink, over an underdrawing in pencil.
Signed Ziem. at the lower left.
286 x 411 mm. (11 1/4 x 16 1/4 in.)

ACQUIRED BY THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART, WASHINGTON DC.

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In the spring of 1859 Ziem wrote in his journal of his fondness for the coastal landscapes of the south; ‘I am leaving for the Midi to do some work and make some observations…I think I'll see Sète, Martigues, Marseille, I'll do some sketches of the sea, of the mountains, of ships, some impressions capable of producing a result. And also, I haven’t seen this charming landscape for a year, my soul needs to open up and my body to breathe some salt air.’ Interestingly, he seems to have found the Provençal landscape more to his liking as a draughtsman rather than as a painter, as he noted in one of his sketchbooks a few years later, in 1865, ‘I have never produced beautiful paintings in the Midi, in spite of my expenses and efforts. I have done magnificent drawings there.’

The present sheet is closely related to a smaller watercolour of tuna fishermen, of an identical composition, in the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, at the Petit Palais in Paris, which also houses another watercolour of a tuna harvest at sunset, though of a different composition. Both Petit Palais watercolours are part of a large group of around a hundred works by Ziem, including paintings, watercolours and drawings, given by him to the museum in 1905.

Among other, similar watercolours of fisherman by the artist is one formerly in the Zoubaloff collection. Ziem also produced a handful of paintings of similar subjects, such as a painting of Martigues, pêcheurs à la Fouëne, today in the collection of the Musée Ziem at Martigues.

The attribution of this watercolour has been confirmed by Anne Burdin-Hellebranth.

Felix ZIEM

The Tuna Harvest at Sunset

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