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Felix Ziem

Gondoliers at Esclavons Quay, Venice
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 Felix Ziem
French, (1821-1911)

Gondoliers at Esclavons Quay, Venice

Oil on Panel  Circa 1865 
20¾ x 31½ Inches  30 x 40¾ Inches Framed 
Signed LL: ZIEM 

The illuminated city-state of Venice, as it was viewed near the Esclavons Wharf by artist Felix Ziem. A “plein-air” painter 30 years before such title existed, Ziem captured the absolute splendor of a summer sunset on the Venetian Lagoon off the Adriatic Sea. The luminescent glow over the architectural majesty of the Ducal Palace, San Marco Square and the risen domes of the Church of Santa Maria della Salute across the entrance to the Grand Canal is spectacular.

Deep shadows and the complimentary light tones make this an interesting and strong work by Ziem, who has loosely chosen a moody interpretation for the day’s end with a gondola loaded with evening passengers. A sign of nobility, the first heavily cloaked figure wears a sword at his belt as he escorts a lady. Many of Ziem’s patrons were important political figures, including his first, the Russian Count Grigori Gagarin, an established artist who introduced Ziem to society connections in Nice and St. Petersburg.

Ziem often worked in the canals in a flat-bottom boat that he rented, sketching an extensive and diverse library of images from life of the people, monuments and events of Venice. Many of his finished oils of venice from these drawings were exhibited in the Paris Salons from 1849 through 1868. This quite fine large size work is among an important series of views the artist produced with this vantage point, with numerous stylistic variances.

Provenance: The Palatial Collection of Italian Industrialist Cecil Blumenthal; to his daughter, Countess Graziella Pecci-Blunt of Rome; by descent in their families.

Illustrated: “Felix Ziem, 1821-1912" by A. Burdin-Hellebranth, 1998, #356.

Please click here for a short Felix Ziem biography.

For more information about Ziem's "Gondoliers at Esclavons Quay, Venice ", please send us an email at

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