Daniel Hermann Anton Melbye was born in Copenhagen, the elder brother of the artists Vilhem and Fritz Melbye. He had originally wanted to be a sailor and trained as a shipbuilder before becoming a pupil of Christoffer-Wilhelm Eckersberg. He received international acclaim as an artist, and depicted shipping lanes around the world, such as this scene before the Rock of Gibraltar. In 1847 Melbye moved to Paris where he obtained the patronage of Louis-Philippe and later Napoleon III.
In 1844, Melbye travelled with the Danish steamer Hekla from Copenhagen to the entrance of the Mediterranean sea, up to Morocco, returning at the beginning of November. It was his first trip to the south and the experience of the Atlantic and the southern light formed his further artistic manner in a substantial way. From then on, Melbye painted the Rock of Gibraltar repeatedly in all his artistic periods. In the present work, Melbye has emphasised the most recent competition of steam and sail, dramatically heightened by the storm- tossed waves seen from a low angle and the sharp points of the steep rock formation.
Christie's are grateful to Regine Gerhardt for her help in cataloguing this lot. Please note that the present work will be included in the forthcoming Melbye catalogue raisonné being prepared by Regine Gerhardt.