Lot Content

COVID-19 Important notice Read more
Benjamin Mary (1792-1846)

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
BENJAMIN MARY (1792-1846) The Belgian diplomat, amateur artist and botanist Benjamin Mary was born in Mons, the son of a lawyer. After schooling in Enghien, he studied law at the University of Brussels. Following a brief career in domestic politics he was nominated the first Belgian chargé d'affaires to Brazil in July 1832. Based in Rio de Janeiro, he spent five years in Brazil. He signed Belgium up to the commercial treaty Brazil had signed with the Dutch in 1828, winning him the plaudits of Leopold I and the order of the Cruzeiro from the Brazilian government. He travelled in Brazil, visiting Olinda and Salvador, and, outside his professional activities, spent his time sketching and botanising. A number of his drawings were lithographed for Spix and Martius' Flora Brasiliensis and a number of his original Brazilian drawings survive: the work for Flora Brasiliensis is in the Hans von Martius collection in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich, and there are further drawings and lithographs in the collections of, amongst others, the Fundação Maria Luísa e Oscar Americano, Sao Paulo, the Biblioteca do Itamaraty, Brasilia and Paulo Fontainha Geyer, Rio de Janeiro. Mary's empty leather portfolio stamped 'B.MARY. Souvenirs du Bresil./I.' accompanies lot 26, and the majority of these drawings are believed by his family to have been dispersed, and returned to Brazil, in the twentieth century. For Mary's Brazilian work, see G. Ferrez, Album de Desenhos Antigos dos Arredores do Rio de Janeiro de Benjamin Mary (1792-1846), Brussels, 1974. After Brazil, Mary's next posting was to Athens where he arrived in 1839, concluding a commercial treaty with Greece the following year. He continued to sketch and toured the eastern Mediterranean from his base in Greece (see lots 28 and 29). With his health failing, he was recalled to Brussels in May 1846, travelled to Italy in July 1846 and then to France. Seeking a cure at Bagnères-de-Luchon on the Franco-Spanish border, he succumbed to apoplexy there on 2 August 1846. Apart from the present sheets, sketchbooks and album of panoramas, three albums of his work in Greece, Asia Minor, Cyprus and Egypt have survived, along with the works in Munich and in Brazilian collections.
Benjamin Mary (1792-1846)

Vue de Rio de Janeiro

Details
Benjamin Mary (1792-1846)
Vue de Rio de Janeiro
pencil, pen and sepia ink and watercolour on seven joined sheets
117/8 x 123in. (30.3 x 312.4cm.)
Sold with the artist's leather portfolio (empty), stamped 'B. MARY./Souvenirs du Bresil./I.' (2)
Provenance
By descent from the artist to the present owner.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

'Given its status as the capital and its spectacular setting, hemmed in between mountains and enveloped in the mantle of the luscious Atlantic Forest and the glistening expanse of Guanabara Bay, the city of Rio de Janeiro and its surroundings were inevitably the most frequent subject of these [panoramic] artists. Many visiting the city chose the totalising, distanced panoramic perspective to paint Rio and its exuberant vegetation. Their partial, sequential, or circular vistas - mostly viewed from islands or hilltops - almost always centre on the bay, which serves as a foil to the stunning tropical landscape and its prime symbol, the Sugar Loaf Mountain,' (A.M.F. Monteiro de Carvalho, 'The Panorama in Brasil' in C. Martins, O Brasil Redescoberto, Rio de Janeiro, 1999, p.158).

;

More From Exploration & Travel with Visions of India

View All
View All