Catalogue entry

Antoine Vollon 1833-1900

N04212 View of the Harbour at Marseilles c.1882

Inscribed 'A. Vollon' b.l.
Oil on canvas, 23 7/8 x 28 7/8 (60.5 x 73.5)
Presented by T.W. Bacon 1926
Prov: [? Vollon sale, Drouot, Paris, 20-23 May 1901, lot 27 as 'Vue du Port de Marseille', 130 frs.]; with or through Goupil Gallery, London; T.W. Bacon, Cambridge
Exh: Summer Exhibition, Goupil Gallery, London, June-July 1926 (60) as 'The Harbour'
Lit: Etienne Martin, Antoine Vollon Peintre (1833-1900) (Marseilles 1923), pp.58-62

This picture was presented under the title 'A Harbour', but the scene has been identified by F. Reynaud, the Director of the Musée de la Marine de Marseille, as a view of the northern end of the Old Port at Marseilles. Vollon's friend and biographer Etienne Martin records that he visited Marseilles for the first time in February 1879 and that he stayed there on three occasions: in 1879, 1880 and 1882. He was also there again for several days in February 1887, on the way to Cannes. He painted numerous still lifes at Marseilles and several views of the harbours. A watercolour of the harbour executed in a very similar rough sketchy technique which was exhibited at Agnew's in June-July 1967 (14) has an inscription 'Marseille | 19 juin 1882'.

This particular sketch may have been included in the posthumous sale of the contents of his studio on 20-23 May 1901, as lot 27 'View of the Harbour at Marseilles', 59 x 73 which was sold for the modest price of 130 francs. (The highest price fetched by a picture by Vollon in the sale was 8,600 francs). The sale is said to have included a large number of studies and painted sketches.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.754-5, reproduced p.754