FRANZ KAISERMANN (1765-1833)
THE GULF OF SALERNO
Titled, signed & dated verso F Kaisermann / 1817
Watercolour on two joined sheets of paper
52 x 72 cm
Anonymous Sale, Sotheby's, London, 20.06.1985, Lot 560;
Private collection, U.K.
Kaisermann’s views of Naples and its environs are comparatively rare within his oeuvre by comparison with his depictions of Rome, Tivoli and Switzerland; however, like many of his contemporaries, he did paint Capri, Baia, Lake Avernus, and several of the other popular artistic destinations in the area. Another watercolour by Kaisermann of the present subject (with the same composition as ours) was sold at Menzies Arts Brands, Sydney, 20.03.2014, Lot 67.
Born in Switzerland, Kaisermann travelled to Rome in 1789 to work as an assistant for his fellow countryman, the artist Abraham-Louis-Rodolphe Ducros. Once settled, he produced numerous views of the city and its monuments, catering (like his friend and mentor) to the then-booming tourist industry. The artist had arrived at a perfect moment: with travel growing more and more affordable and convenient, many of the new tourists came from more varied backgrounds than their aristocratic and wealthy predecessors in the mid-18th century. Kaisermann responded to a growing demand for affordable works as souvenirs: these watercolours over etched outlines - a technique learned of course from Ducros - allowed him to recreate commercially desirable views swiftly, with the added advantage that he was able to produce the print basis for the pictures himelf, where Ducros had relied on Volpato. The present work is however an original watercolour, and is not known to have been reproduced in the hybrid format of etching and watercolour at any point.