Lot 26
  • 26

CLAUDE-JOSEPH VERNET | A storm in a bay

100,000 - 150,000 EUR
143,750 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Claude-Joseph Vernet
  • A storm in a bay
  • Signed and dated lower left: J. Vernet. 1764
  • Oil on canvas
  • 87 x 138 cm


Mr. Boursault;
His sale, Paris, Me Coutellier, 7 May 1832, lot 119;
Anonymous sale ('coming from a foreign owner'), Paris, Me Ridel, 16 March 1854, lot 115;
Vve Marie Blanc, Paris;
Her deceased sale, Paris, Mes Escribe and Couturier, 13-15 March 1882, lot 141 (1 900 francs);
Château de Pontchartrain, Jouars-Pontchartrain.


F. Ingersoll-Smouse, Joseph Vernet, Paris 1926, vol. I, p. 97, no. 788.

Catalogue Note

Unrivalled as a painter of marine subjects in Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century, Joseph Vernet was particularly fond of storm scenes, which remained one of his favourite themes over the course of his entire career.

Although he began his training in Aix-en-Provence, he continued his education in Rome from 1734. Over the course of the nearly twenty years he spent in Italy, Joseph Vernet was accepted into the Accademia di San Luca and found an appreciative clientele for his landscapes and marine paintings not only among the Roman nobility and curia but also among the English aristocrats who visited the Eternal City on their Grand Tour. In 1753, on the strength of his success, he was recalled to France by King Louis XV to carry out his most prestigious commission: the series The Ports of France. He was also made a member of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture upon his return to Paris.
His detailed study of ports and marine scenes gave his work the ease and fluency exhibited in this painting. Not only did Vernet successfully recreate in his work the power of the sea, the deafening roar of the waves breaking on the rocks, the violence of the wind flattening the trees and of the rain falling in the background, but he also devoted himself to depicting the desperate efforts of the men trying to save themselves. The artist's brush, fine and precise, beautifully renders both the movements of the figures and the natural elements. In this Vernet's art fits perfectly into the French eighteenth century, characterised by a closer and more systematic study of nature, but also fascinated by its dangers, thus adhering to the aesthetic of the Sublime that would soon give rise to Romanticism.

A comparable work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington (inv. 2000.22.1). Another similar painting is the View of a Mediterranean coast with a shipwreck offered at Sotheby's in London in 2001 (anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 9 July 2009, lot 195, sold for £103,250).