The PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN
Seldom does a sale of Maritime Pictures include such an impressive collection of works by members of the Roux family. Renowned for their exquisitely detailed watercolours, the Roux family practised their art through several generations in an ancient port established at the natural confluence of time hallowed trade routes.
After the American Revolution, the remarkable expansion of the United States merchant fleet led not only to strong trade links between the New World and Liverpool (resulting incidentally in Liverpool becoming the chief cotton emporium for the United Kingdom) but also to the former colonies trading directly with continental ports including, of course, Marseilles. Consequently most of today's maritime collections in the United States almost always include a rich variety of pictures by members of the Roux or Walters family of Liverpool (see lot ......), the delicate watercolours complementing the glowing oil paintings.
The majority of the collection of Roux watercolours that proceeds this introduction was originally formed by the well known Swiss maritime collector Philipp Keller who died in 1984. Upon his death his outstanding maritime collection of watercolours was largely broken up, however the Swiss Museum Das Verkehrshaus in Lucerne, on whose board he sat for some twenty years, houses the remains of his collection of maritime models, books etc., remember him to this day with gratitude as the distinguished benefactor and collector that he undoubtably was during his long and distinguished life.
The Roux Dynasty
Ange Joseph Antoine Roux (1765-1835) or Antoine Roux (pere)
Arguably the most successful of all, he was the father and master of Mathieu-Antoine, Frederic and Francois Geoffroi. His work remained superior in quality and was the inspiration to a whole following of aspiring French and Italian marine watercolour painters.
Mathieu-Antoine Roux (1799-1872) or Antoine Roux (fils)
As the eldest son, daily exposure to business at the hydrographic shop (for the Roux family's trade was fundamentally that of hydrography and cartography) as well as work always in progress on some new ship picture, naturally inclined him to follow in the paternal footsteps. His work is often confused with that of his father's.
Francois Joseph Frederic Roux (1805-1870) or Frederic Roux
By 1822, at the age of seventeen, he was already painting for profit in his father's studio having developed a style that would have been the envy of many an older practitioner. He became an apprentice to Horace Vernet in the 'atelier Vernet' in Paris at a young age and was soon to embrace great success both within the French court and elsewhere, so much so that he decided in 1835 to move to Le Havre where he became a hydrographer and "painter of marines". His watercolours of Le Havre are admired particularly for their high quality and within his own lifetime he was to receive international acclaim.
Francois Geoffroi Roux (1811-1882) or Francois Roux
The youngest of Antoine Roux's sons, Francois was nominated "Peintre officiel de la Marine" in 1876. Working, as he did, for most of his life in the family workshop in Marseilles, his work is similar but, if anything, finished in even greater detail. To say that Francois ultimately came to surpass his father's work would be unfair, but his effortless handling of pigment, maturity of style and incomparable degree of skill give his watercolours a surety of hand capable of executing even the most ambitious works.
There are examples by all members of the Roux family in museums worldwide, including The Peabody Museum of Salem, Le Musee de la Marine, Paris and Le Musee de la Marine, Marseille. Their dynasty was to influence a whole school of maritime painters and their bold, colourful, throbbing images of ships, so technically fine in every way, speak for themselves.