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ROBERT SALMON
England/Massachusetts, 1775- c. 1851

Il Molo, Venice, from the Bacino di San Marco. Possibly a commissioned work after a painting by Canaletto.

People familiar with Robert Salmon's paintings know his coastal views of England and Scotland, and his ship portraits and views of Boston. For a long time, it was believed Salmon died shortly after leaving Boston in 1842 (the actual date of his death remains unclear but is now generally agreed to be in 1851). We now know he returned to Europe and went to Italy, where he painted a number of canvases. In Wilmerding's book on Salmon, he discusses a pair of paintings that were sold through Ira Spanierman Galleries, New York, that are now in the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid. These include a "View of Venice" and "A View of Palermo", both signed with the initials "R.S." and dated 1845. They are considered some of his last works. As described by art historian Elizabeth Garrity Ellis (excerpted from a description of Salmon's works on the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum website):

"Painted more thinly and in a higher key than his Scottish or Boston scenes, 'View of Palermo' and 'View of Venice' are some of Salmon's last known works. Their bright palette, deep orthogonals and crisp draftsmanship also reveal, of course, the long influence of Venetian veduta tradition on Salmon's art. Clearly initialed and dated 'R.S. 1845', the pair suggest that Salmon occasionally continued to paint on a large scale after failing eyesight curtailed his work in 1840. He returned to Europe -- probably to England -- two years later, and managed to execute only one or two paintings a year. Several of these late works are imaginary scenes based on engravings, photographs or the work of J.M.W. Turner. View of Venice, although containing a precisely-charted configuration of boats typical of Salmon's Boston Harbour scenes, particularly recalls the heightened colour of Turner's painting of the Adriatic city."

As with the two works cited above, 'Il Molo, Venice, from the Bacino di San Marco' is also signed with the initials 'R.S.' and dated 1845. Undoubtedly, Salmon was aware of the works by Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (Venice, 1697-1768), who painted several versions of Il Molo, at least one of which was collected by a British nobleman and was likely known to Salmon.

This canvas of Il Molo is from the Bacino, showing the religious and secular monuments of Venice. Canaletto painted several versions of this view of Il Molo, from opposite the Campanile, which is seen frontally, and shows the key buildings at the heart of Venice.


See:
Robert Salmon - Painter of Ship & Shore
by John Wilmerding (Co-published by the Peabody Museum of Salem and The Boston Public Library, 1971), p. 38 for illustrations of "A View of Venice" and "A View of Palermo"; p. 47 for an illustration of "View of the Thames Looking Towards St. Paul's" by Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto); and p. 55 for a discussion of the two Italian views painted by Salmon and the Italian influence on his works.

Nineteenth-Century American Paintings: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection by Elizabeth Garrity Ellis et al. (N.Y.: Vendome Press, 1986).

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum website for a description and insights on the two Italian scenes in the collection painted by Robert Salmon: https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/salmon-robert/ .

Oil on canvas, 19.75" x 32.75". Framed 26" x 38.75".

England/Massachusetts, 1775- c. 1851
Il Molo, Venice, from the Bacino di San Marco. Possibly a commissioned work after a painting by Canaletto.

People familiar with Robert Salmon's paintings know his coastal views of England and Scotland, and his ship portraits and views of Boston. For a long time, it was believed Salmon died shortly after leaving Boston in 1842 (the actual date of his death remains unclear but is now generally agreed to be in 1851). We now know he returned to Europe and went to Italy, where he painted a number of canvases. In Wilmerding's book on Salmon, he discusses a pair of paintings that were sold through Ira Spanierman Galleries, New York, that are now in the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid. These include a "View of Venice" and "A View of Palermo", both signed with the initials "R.S." and dated 1845. They are considered some of his last works. As described by art historian Elizabeth Garrity Ellis (excerpted from a description of Salmon's works on the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum website):

"Painted more thinly and in a higher key than his Scottish or Boston scenes, 'View of Palermo' and 'View of Venice' are some of Salmon's last known works. Their bright palette, deep orthogonals and crisp draftsmanship also reveal, of course, the long influence of Venetian veduta tradition on Salmon's art. Clearly initialed and dated 'R.S. 1845', the pair suggest that Salmon occasionally continued to paint on a large scale after failing eyesight curtailed his work in 1840. He returned to Europe -- probably to England -- two years later, and managed to execute only one or two paintings a year. Several of these late works are imaginary scenes based on engravings, photographs or the work of J.M.W. Turner. View of Venice, although containing a precisely-charted configuration of boats typical of Salmon's Boston Harbour scenes, particularly recalls the heightened colour of Turner's painting of the Adriatic city."

As with the two works cited above, 'Il Molo, Venice, from the Bacino di San Marco' is also signed with the initials 'R.S.' and dated 1845. Undoubtedly, Salmon was aware of the works by Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (Venice, 1697-1768), who painted several versions of Il Molo, at least one of which was collected by a British nobleman and was likely known to Salmon.

This canvas of Il Molo is from the Bacino, showing the religious and secular monuments of Venice. Canaletto painted several versions of this view of Il Molo, from opposite the Campanile, which is seen frontally, and shows the key buildings at the heart of Venice.


See:
Robert Salmon - Painter of Ship & Shore
by John Wilmerding (Co-published by the Peabody Museum of Salem and The Boston Public Library, 1971), p. 38 for illustrations of "A View of Venice" and "A View of Palermo"; p. 47 for an illustration of "View of the Thames Looking Towards St. Paul's" by Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto); and p. 55 for a discussion of the two Italian views painted by Salmon and the Italian influence on his works.

Nineteenth-Century American Paintings: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection by Elizabeth Garrity Ellis et al. (N.Y.: Vendome Press, 1986).

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum website for a description and insights on the two Italian scenes in the collection painted by Robert Salmon: https://www.museothyssen.org/en/collection/artists/salmon-robert/ .

Oil on canvas, 19.75" x 32.75". Framed 26" x 38.75".

  • Condition: Relined. Moderate inpaint around the edges where it hits the frame, and scattered within the sky, faint traces in and around buildings and water.


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