Watercolours, gouaches, prints and drawings from the 18th and 19th centuries
9 + 1 = 10
To celebrate ten years of Art en Vieille-Ville and the 30th anniversary of the Galerie Grand-Rue, we invite you to rediscover the landscapes of nine of our favourite painters and to explore the work of an artist who is new to our gallery.
Of particular note are the magnificent oriental landscapes of David Roberts (1796-1864), Edward Lear (1812-1888) and Amadeo Preziosi (1816-1882). Focus upon any frame and it becomes a portal through which one’s gaze slips across the border of the real to the dreamt. Untethered by our artists from the laws of nature, you shall pass effortlessly from the half-lit back streets of decadent Constantinople to the broken majesty of Petra and then on and over the uncluttered beauty of the Greek countryside.
The journey continues with two vedutisti intimately associated with Italy: ALR Ducros (1747-1810) and Saloman Corrodi (1810-1892). These two Swiss were so inexorably drawn to the South that they decided to anchor themselves to the land which had so demonstrably inflected their aesthetics. Drawing power from their connection to the massy earth, their landscapes were sold to the voyagers of the Grand Tour, travellers with a special penchant for the land of Romulus and Remus and its seductive blend of culture and natural beauty. Providing a striking contrast, Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s (1720-1778) engravings articulate the inescapabilty of modernity in a language of stone and iron. His Carceri d’Invenzione draw much of their power from the artist’s ability to make these imaginations hyper-real: we are watching a world that we are convinced will never fade, around which are own flows timidly, knowing its place.
The final destination of the Tour was, however, Naples. Sun ravaged Imperial ruins stood sentinel in a landscape whose beauty was so brutally raw as to nearly overwhelm any eye which dared to consume it. The dark throne of this kingdom was the ever-smouldering Vesuvius. Upon it sat the divine fire of Hephaestus which lit the upturned face of every pilgrim on the Tour. Standing as Promethean witnesses to all of this ireful splendour were the two great artists of the Neapolitan gouache: Saverio della Gatta (active 1777-1827) and Camillo de Vito (active 1790-1830).
Scientific curiosity increased at an exponential rate in the 18th Century and the voyagers of the Grand Tour were fascinated by natural phenomena. With the conquest of the Alps (the first ascension of Mont-Blanc took place in 1786), many of them ventured in the mountains to have a chance to witness the magnificence of the glaciers. The Geneva workshop of Jean-Antoine Linck (1766-1843) offered exquisite coloured engravings of the region and even original gouaches for the luckiest clients!
The Mont-Blanc drew worshipping artists from all corners of Europe in the 19th century, who were joined now by photographers. Adophe Braun was one of them, accompanied by his brother, his sons and Fernand, his nephew. Indeed, it would be Fernand who topped the Mont-Blanc in 1875 only to return with stunning shots which were then printed in the family workshop in Alsace. These photographs, in continuity with the tradition of engravings, allowed for the circulation of the alpine vision through Europe. You are invited to discover a beautiful series of them as part of our anniversary exhibition.