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19th Century Art


Théodore Gudin

Paris 1802 – 1880 Boulogne-sur-Seine

Shipwreck at Castello sul Mare in Rapallo. 1833

Oil on canvas. 69 × 100 cm. (27 ⅛ × 39 ⅜ in.) Signed, inscribed and dated lower left: T. Gudin. Rome. 1833. On the upper stretcher bar the red wax seal of the State Hermitage Museum (second half of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century) and the inv. no. in black: 6979. Skillfully repaired.  [3034] Framed 

ProvenanceState Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (inv. no. 6979, „A Shipwreck in a Storm“, 1912 and 1915 in the Winter Palace) / Private Collection, St. Petersburg (with connection to the court) / Private Collection, Helsinki (by descent) / Private Collection, Toronto (by descent, until 2020).

Addendum/ErratumDifferential taxation (other than stated in the printed catalogue)

EUR 40.000 – 60.000
USD 46,500 – 69,800

Sold for:
50,000 EUR (incl. premium)

Schiffswrack bei Castello sul Mare in Rapallo

Auction 334Wednesday, 1 December 2021
03:00 PM

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We would like to thank The State Hermitage Museum for providing additional information regarding provenance.

Force of nature and natural beauty

A capsized ship lies in the roaring surf off Castello sul Mare in Rapallo in the Gulf of Genoa. In a desperate and probably doomed attempt to salvage the ship, the rope attached to the mast is broken and the sailors on shore fall back, staggering. The cargo drifts in the roaring surf as the day draws to a close. The unshakable Castello and, even more so, the golden, warm light of the sunset and the raging sea bathed in brilliance and glow stand in almost painful contrast to this acute drama of human fate.
Théodore Gudin's painting "Shipwreck at Castello sul Mare in Rapallo" from 1833 provides us today with information about the artist's eventful life in many respects. It seems clear from Gudin's oeuvre that a stroke of fate affected him throughout his life: during a boat trip with his brother on the stormy Seine, the boat capsized - an accident that Gudin's brother did not survive. With his seascapes and his depictions of ships in distress, however, Gudin met the taste of his time. The French King Louis-Philippe I appointed him peintre officiel de la Marine royale and raised him to the rank of nobility. With this came the privilege of numerous journeys, to Algeria, to the coast of Italy, later to Berlin, Russia and throughout his life again and again to England. Artistic creation in London at that time was dominated by the English School, in which an emotional, moving and new kind of nature painting was coined. Human fate took a back seat to nature. Gudin's "Shipwreck near Castello sul Mare in Rapallo" is an example of these influences, of his sensitivity towards the beauty and power of nature.
Gudin's works were represented in all the important collections in Europe. For Versailles alone, Gudin was commissioned to produce 90 paintings. His reputation led him to St. Petersburg in the mid-1830s at the personal invitation of Tsar Nicholas I. He was also invited to paint in the city of St. Petersburg. In his memoirs "Souvenirs du baron Gudin: Peintre de la marine (1820-1870)" we can read impressively what a close and almost intimate relationship the painter had with the Tsar's family and what admiration Nicholas I felt for Gudin's painting.
It was also Nicholas I who had a decisive influence on the development of the collection of the later Hermitage. Our painting was demonstrably in the Winter Palace, in the private apartments of the Tsar's family, between 1912 and 1915, and was thus part of the Hermitage collection. It is possible that the purchase of our painting can be traced back to Nicholas I. In the course of the planned economic measures of the USSR, many important works from the Hermitage were sold. In 1929, Gudin's Shipwreck at Castello sul Mare in Rapallo also left the St Petersburg museum.

Constanze Hager

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