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Painting and Graphic Art

Shipwreck on a rocky coast

Key data

dated 1782

Jean Pillement, Basle

Pencil, chalk and opaque paint on paper

72 x 105 cm

Inv. 1920.140.


This large work drawn predominantly in pastel is one of four such overdoor landscapes produced probably in Basle in 1782. Two others are in the Kupferstichkabinett of the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel. The Lyons painter's stay in Basle in 1786 is documented in a drawing by the Basle art collector Daniel Burckhardt Wildt portraying the 58 year old artist at work. Pillement, a landscape, marine, genre and flower painter but above all a designer of ornament and an engraver, had travelled throughout Europe; he was in Madrid and Lisbon about 1745, settled in London about 1750, worked at the imperial court in Vienna in 1763 and at the court in Warsaw in 1766, and finally became court painter to Marie Antoinette in Paris in 1778. In this work, in contrast to his pastoral landscapes in the manner of Boucher, he dramatically renders the natural violence of a storm at sea.

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