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Félix Ziem (French, 1821-1911)
Félix Ziem (French, 1821-1911)

L'entrée du grand canal

Félix Ziem (French, 1821-1911)
L'entrée du grand canal
signed 'Ziem.' (lower left)
oil on panel
21 x 29¼ in. (53.3 x 74.3 cm.)
Porto Riche; Drouot, Paris, 5/6 June 1908, lot 22.
Anne Burdin-Hellebranth, Félix Ziem 1821-1911, Paris, 1998, vol. I, p. 260, fig. 653 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

Born Félix-Francois Georges Philibert Ziem in Beaune in the Côte d'Or département of the Burgundy région of France. Ziem studied at the School of Architecture in Dijon. He placed second in a drawing competition at his school in 1839, and worked briefly as a draftsman and architect upon graduation. Ziem's masterful depictions of structure and creation of depth in his paintings demonstrate his foundation in architecture. Ziem could not resist the call to paint, particularly after his 1842 visit to Italy where he fell in love with the city of Venice, a place that would become the source for many of his works. He returned to Venice time again for extended stays so he could paint the canals. Ziem painted still-lifes, portraits and landscapes from a variety of places including Constantinople and Turkey, Martigues, Egypt, Holland, Cagnes-sur-Mer and his native Burgundy, however his Venetian vedute are his most compelling and sought-after compositions.

Ziem's works were first exhibited in 1849 at the Paris Salon and he exhibited there regularly. Traveling through Europe, to St.Petersburg, and always with an eye towards Venice, in 1860 Ziem moved to Montmartre, the artists' quarter in Paris.

Ziem distinguished himself stylistically from Guardi and Canaletto and other masters of Venice scenes by offering a new treatment of Venice that eschews the midday views of the city's most celebrated sites like the Doge's Palace or the San Marco. This work exemplifies the impossible beauty of a city bathed in water and golden light-the city that informed Ziem's artistic vision for nearly seventy years. Although he was a well-rounded artist, as accomplished in portraits, still lifes, genre scenes, and historical reality, his visions of the East, to which Venice is the gateway, are widely acclaimed by critics and collectors alike.

In 1857, the government of France recognized his contribution to the art world by making him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. After enjoying great success through his adult life, Félix Ziem died in 1911 and was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
Frederic Chopin once said, 'Each artist has an ideal homeland often distanced and unconnected to his real country. Ziem's homeland is Venice. It is there that his painting has its lawful residence.'

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