This lot has been withdrawn
1834 - 1890
CHAMELIER DEVANT LE LAC DE TIBÉRIADE
Oil on canvas
97 x 165 cm (unframed) ; 133 x 203 x 12.5 cm (framed)
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Private collection, Switzerland (1950-2010), where acquired by the present owner.
Marie-Hélène Miauton and Marie Rochel, Auguste Veillon, des barques du Léman aux felouques du Nil, Lausanne, 2015, p.91 ill. (comparable)
After studying initially with François Diday in Geneva, Veillon went to Paris to complete his training and there spent much time at the Louvre studying the effect of light in works of Claude Lorrain, Turner and 17th Century Dutch landscape painters. It was his meeting with Eugène Fromentin in 1858 which was to prove a turning point in the artist’s career as it sparked his interest in Orientalist subject matter. He subsequently travelled widely to Egypt, Constantinople, Tunisia and was in the Holy Land in 1886, in March 1887 and again in April 1888. Travelling to such places at the time was adventurous and Veillon was one of few Western painters to brave the discomfort. Of his 1886 trip he wrote: » J’ai fait donc le voyage Jérusalem, Naplouse, Tibériade, Nazareth, Haifa en 12 jours à cheval seul, heureux d’avoir mes impressions personnelles et de pas entendre certains touristes attendre le moment de quitter cet affreux pays comme ils l’appellent. » (letter 21 May 1886 to Mlle Reinhardt, cited in M-H. Miauton & M. Rochel, Auguste Veillon, Lausanne 2015, p. 84). The site of the Lake of Galilee was particularly important for Veillon. In 1888 he wrote: “…mon plus grand désir est de retourner à Tibériade pour y refaire de meilleures études et sojourner plus longtemps…” (letter 5 January 1888 to Mlle Reinhart, cited in M-H. Miauton & M. Rochel, op. cit., p. 86) and for this last visit, he remained for two weeks at Galilee staying in a convent and was overwhelmed by colours and harmony of the site. Since he had already sold a large view of the Lake of Galilee, he wrote to his wife “J’espère bien refaire une toile de Tibériade d’un autre motif et ne sera point mal!” (letter 26 April, op. cit., p. 90).
The present view, of impressive dimensions, shows a group of bedouins resting with a panoramic view of the Lake of Galilee beyond. It follows Veillon’s predilection for large horizontal compositions with few figures, where his aim is not to produce a topographically accurate view, but rather to create a composition which evokes a calm and majestic, spiritual atmosphere. A comparable view of slightly smaller dimensions is in a private collection (illustrated, M-H. Miauton & M. Rochel, op. cit. p. 91). The influence of Veillon’s Swiss landscapes can be seen in the treatment of the water and the reflection of the mountains in the water. The composition is organised around a low horizon line which leads the viewer’s eye towards the vanishing point. Veillon rarely dated his works, but the present painting seems to be a late work dating from 1886-88.