The present view of the Doge's Palace from the Canal della Grazia on the Island of Giudecca in Venice can be considered one of the most accomplished ever painted by the artist. As Théophile Gautier stated : '[...] ce qu’il exprime mieux encore, c’est l’eau verte de la lagune, brisée en mille écailles de lumière et reflétant le caprice du ciel à travers le sillage et le remous des gondoles qui dérangent les silhouettes répercutées des palais… [...]'. (Théophile Gautier, Souvenir de théâtre, d'art et de critique, Paris, 1904, p. 300.)
After studying architecture in Dijon, Ziem worked as a surveyor on the construction of the Marseille canal, before his watercolours attracted the patronage of Ferdinand-Philippe, Duc d'Orléans. In 1842, he visited Italy for the first time and fell in love with Venice. His views of Venice are known to be his most compelling and sought-after compositions. The artist also painted in Constantinople, North Africa and in the forest of Fontainebleau. His many foreign journeys included visits to Russia in 1843-4, the Middle East and North Africa at least five times between 1847 and 1859 and London in 1849 and 1852. Ziem enjoyed financial success during his lifetime and owned studios in Paris and Martigues in the South of France (now the location of the Musée Ziem).
The painting has a notable provenance as it was originally acquired for 3,000 francs by the Empress Eugénie at the Salon in Paris on July 5th 1864. Three years later, it was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.
We are grateful to The Association Félix Ziem, represented by Mathias Ary Jan, David Pluskwa and Gérard Fabre, for confirming the authenticity of this work.