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    Félix Ziem (French, 1821-1911)
    Gondoliers at Esclavons Quay, Venice, circa 1865
    Oil on panel
    20-3/4 x 31-1/2 inches (52.7 x 80.0 cm)
    Signed lower left: Ziem

    Property from the Estate of Kenneth Alan Hill, Sr., Fort Worth, Texas

    Cecil Blumenthal Pecci-Blunt;
    His daughter, Countess Graziella Pecci-Blunt, Rome;
    Thence by descent;
    Christie's, London, November 16, 2005, lot 16;
    Vallejo Gallery, Newport Beach, California;
    Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2015.

    A. Burdin-Hellebranth, Félix Ziem 1821-1911, Brussels, 1998, T.I., no. 356, illustrated.

    The Association Félix Ziem, represented by Mathias Ary Jan, David Pluskwa and Gérard Fabre, has confirmed the authenticity of this work, which will be included in the forthcoming Félix Ziem catalogue raisonné. The lot is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity dated March 20, 2021 from the Association.

    Uninterested in the Realist movement that was the driving force in landscape art at the close of the 19th century, Félix Ziem forged his own unique artistic path. Similar to contemporary Martín Rico y Ortega, Ziem made a specialty of Venetian scenes which he painted en plein air, often renting a gondola and anchoring it in a canal. But unlike Rico y Ortega, Ziem's style was free, brushy, and atmospheric, capturing the flickering interplay of light and breeze on the water and its dazzling reflections of the floating city. Ziem traveled extensively throughout his life and would come to attract a wide range of important patrons who were entranced by the artist's radiant depictions of his travels.

    In the present work, Ziem captured the grandeur of a summer sunset on the Venetian Lagoon as viewed near the Esclavons landing-a dramatic vantage point also favored by other noted Venetian vedute painters, including Canaletto, Marieschi, Corot, Unterberger, and Bonington. A heavily cloaked figure with a sword at his belt, a sign of nobility, escorts a lady to the waiting gondolier. This moody interpretation of the day's end, with a gondola loaded with evening passengers appealed to many of Ziem's patrons, as they could picture themselves in the scene. Deep shadows in the night water contrast the luminescent glow of the final daylight hours over the architectural majesty of the Ducal Palace and the dome of the Church of Santa Maria della Salute in the distance.

    This painting formerly belonged to the collection of Cecil Blunt, a wealthy and cultured American banker, and son of the collector Ferdinand Blumenthal. Blunt and his Italian wife, Anna Letitia Pecci-Blunt (1885-1971), affectionately known as "Mimi," was the great-niece of Pope Leo XIII. The couple divided their time between Paris and Rome where they dedicated themselves to artistic and intellectual pursuits. In Paris, they opened their home to writers, poets, artists and musicians including Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau, Georges Braque, Paul Valery, Francis Poulenc, and Paul Claudel. Beginning in 1929, the Pecci-Blunts (as they stylized themselves) spent some months of every year in Rome where their palazzo became a cultural hub, and where they began acquiring works of art thematically focused on the city of Rome, which became known as Roma Sparita. The couple moved to New York during World War II, and returned to Italy in 1947. Three works by Corot and one by Delacroix formerly in the Pecci-Blunt collection are in the permanent collection of the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.

    Condition Report*: On stable beveled panel. Frame abrasion with some pigment transfer at extreme edges, retouched on right edge. Slight yellowing to the varnish layer. Finely patterned craquelure throughout, with some minor scattered pigment separation. A few pinpoint losses visible upon close inspection.
    Under UV: unevenly-applied varnish fluoresces green. Some brushy retouching to the sky area. Finely applied dots and dashes of retouching, particularly to lower right quadrant. Aforementioned retouching of frame abrasion.
    Framed Dimensions 30 X 41 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    View all of [Property from the Estate of Kenneth Alan Hill, Sr., Fort Worth, Texas ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2021
    4th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,149

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