Venetian Scene

by William Stanley Haseltine (1835–1900)
Oil on canvas
17½ x 35⅝ inches

Information

Provenance

Private collection, Worcestershire, England

Sale, Christie’s, London, South Kensington, England, January 24, 2008, lot 0114, from above (as Vessels Before Venice at Dusk)

Private collection, New York, New York

Sale, Roland Auctions, Glen Cove, New York, January 28, 2022, lot 0237, from above

Related Works

Santa Maria della Salute, Sunset, 1870–85, oil on canvas, 23 x 36 inches; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

Venice I, ca. 1875, oil on canvas, 23½ x 48½ inches; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan

Grand Canal Venice, 1882, oil on canvas, 22⅞ x 35⅞ inches; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia

Note: This painting has been authenticated by Andrea Henderson Fahnestock, who described the composition, saying:

His Venice paintings and watercolors are very much theme-and-variation. This one pictures the city’s famous architectural monuments on the far horizon, the “butterfly boats” that all artists painted at the right, and what appears to be a bit of the public garden at the far right edge.[1]

Haseltine’s first recorded trip to Venice was in 1871, at which time a news correspondent in Rome commented upon his return:

Haseltine has brought from Venice some of the loveliest studies of the Venetian ‘butterfly boats,’ as Ruskin calls them, I ever saw. We all know how Haseltine paints water; what a poetry he throws into shores and sea, such a liquid sheen, such comprehension of nature’s language of colors, and such a nice executive sense as he has.... Now he will add to his fame by some of the loveliest Venetian lagoon and Adriatic scenes ever artist painted.[2]

 

1. Andrea Henderson Fahnestock, “Water-Rambles" on the Lagoon: William Stanley Haseltine in Venice,” American Art Review V, no. 2 (Winter 1993), 154–165.

2. Anne Brewster, "Our Letter from Rome," Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, December 9, 1871, quoted in Andrea Henderson Fahnestock, “Water-Rambles,” 164, n19.

Artist Biography

William Stanley Haseltine was one of the nineteenth century’s most celebrated expatriates, whose Italian landscapes introduced American audiences to the romance, history, and beauty of the ancient landscape. Born in Philadelphia, Haseltine descended from a rich artistic history of his own: his mother Elizabeth was an amateur painter, his older brother James became a prominent sculptor, and his younger brother Charles established the Haseltine Art Galleries in Philadelphia. William was the most promising artistic talent, and he pursued his studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University before returning to Philadelphia to train under the German artist Paul Weber.

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William Stanley Haseltine was one of the nineteenth century’s most celebrated expatriates, whose Italian landscapes introduced American audiences to the romance, history, and beauty of the ancient landscape. Born in Philadelphia, Haseltine descended from a rich artistic history of his own: his mother Elizabeth was an amateur painter, his older brother James became a prominent sculptor, and his younger brother Charles established the Haseltine Art Galleries in Philadelphia. William was the most promising artistic talent, and he pursued his studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University before returning to Philadelphia to train under the German artist Paul Weber. He accompanied Weber to Dusseldorf soon after, remaining in the artist’s colony from 1854-1858. There, Haseltine honed his painterly technique and began to explore the European continent. He traveled to Italy in 1856, accompanying Albert Bierstadt, Emanuel Leutze, and Worthington Whittredge on a sketching trip from the Rhine to the Roman Campagna.

Back in the United States, Hasletine joined Bierstadt, Leutze, and Whittredge in New York’s Tenth Street Studio Building, the center of the Hudson River School and the American art world. He didn’t stay long. Haseltine returned to Europe in 1866, spending three years in Paris before settling permanently in Rome. His romantic evocations of Italy’s historic ruins and peaceful coasts drew patrons from there and abroad. Distinguished by their rich colors and precisely-rendered forms, Haseltine’s Italian scenes combine sentiment and strength—emotion filtered through a steady gaze.

Haseltine continued to exhibit his work at the Paris Salon, the National Academy of Design, the Brooklyn Art Association, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts until just before the turn of the century. Today, his paintings are featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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