Félix Ziem (1821-1911)
Born in 1821 in Beaune, France, to a French mother and Polish father, Félix Ziem studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Dijon. In 1839, he relocated to Marseille, where he worked as an architect, painting only in his spare time. A trip to Italy in 1841, however, moved him to pursue a career as an artist. By 1849, he was able to exhibit his paintings at the Paris Salon, for the first time, where they were met with great enthusiasm by the critics and the general public alike. Ziem traveled extensively all over Europe, the Orient and North Africa, and his dreamy, light-filled land- and seascapes drew comparisons to the Barbizon School and the works of Joseph Mallord William Turner. Ziem was not only an extraordinarily productive artist – his oeuvre comprises of more than 10.000 paintings – but also a commercially successful one, who managed to attract a wide range of influential patrons. While not travelling, Ziem spent most of his time in Martigues, a small port near Marseille on France’s Mediterranean coast, and in Venice, to which he dedicated a significant part of his oeuvre. Ziem received numerous prizes and awards throughout his career, and in 1910, one year before his death, he was privileged to witness the Louvre purchasing his art. Aside from the Louvre, Ziem’s paintings can be found today in the collections of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and other institutions.