A Shipwreck -   Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714 - 1789)
A Shipwreck
Painted by Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714 - 1789)
Pictured here courtesy of Robert S. Brown. © - All Rights Reserved.
Sold, paired with the Fishing Scene, at Christie's New York
on January 29, 1999, for $380,000 dollars for the pair.

Christies Catalog Description.  © All Rights Reserved.
Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714 1789) - Mediterranean Harbor Scenes with Survivors from a Shipwreck; and Fishermen and Women at Sunset - the first signed and dated 'J Vemet 1771'; the second signed and dated 'J Vernet 1771' - oil on canvas - 121/4 x 161/2 in (31 x 41.9 cm) A Pair (2)
Having established his reputation as a painter of marines and landscapes while in Italy, where he lived from 1734 until 1754, Vernet finally settled back in Paris in 1762.  In Paris, he was treated from the outset as one of the greatest artists of his generation, and held in the highest esteem by both the public and the critics.  Even Diderot was moved to claim that 'les marines de Vernet, qui m'offrent toutes sortes d'incidents et de scenes, sont autant pour moi des tableaux d'histroire, que les Septs sacrements du Poussin' (,see P. Verniere, ed Diderot: oeuvres esthiques, 1965, p 726).  The present paintings do not appear to have been known to Florence Ingersoll-Smouse when she wrote her monograph - Joseph Vernet: Peintre de marine, 1926, but they areł typical of thc painting produced by Vernet in the 1770s.  During the 1760s and '70s, Vernet was swamped with commissions thus atesting to his strong reputation in Paris.  Although he could (and did) paint astonishingly accurate topographical views of specific places, he seems to have preferred the freedom to paint imaginary views based on his experience of the Italian coast from Rome to Naples, thus allowing him to show his mastery in depicting the quixotic power of nature.
We are grateful to Dr. Philip Conisbee for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs.
Estimate: $150,000 - 200,000 - for the pair.