Lot 184
  • 184

Gustave Wertheimer

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Gustave Wertheimer
  • The Shipwreck of Agrippina
  • oil on canvas
  • 83 by 94 3/4 in.
  • 210.8 by 240.6 cm


Henry Janssen and Gustav Oberlaender, Wyomissing, Pennyslvania
The Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania (bequeathed from the above in 1926)


J. Eugene Reed, The Masterpieces of German Art, Philadelphia, 1884, vol. 2, pl. 48, illustrated
John Denison Champlin, Jr., ed. Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings, New York, 1888, vol. 4, p. 424

Catalogue Note

In his early survey of German art, J. Eugene Reed describes the scene depicted in the present work as the last of Nero's schemes to drown his mother Agrippina: "To disarm her suspicions he wrote her a most affectionate letter inviting her to celebrate with him the festival of Minerva. She accepted the invitation... and was most cordially entertained; but on departing she was provided with a vessel that was so contrived that it would fall to pieces when out at sea (see fig 1., Reed, opposite pl. 48).  Painted in 1874, Wertheimer, celebrated for his vivid history paintings, captures the frenzied moment in which Agrippina's ship begins to sink--yet soon thereafter she saves herself by swimming to shore thwarting her son's evil plan.