Charles Euphrasie Kuwasseg (1838-1904)
"Fishing in the Harbour"
Oil on canvas, signed and dated Fils 71
23.5 x 32 cm.
Marine, landscape and topographical painter and watercolourist, Charles Kuwasseg often filled his panoramas with animated figures, some would be fishing on the water or pulling up boats or simply walking along a mountain path. Kuwasseg was born on 29th September 1838 at Draveil, on the River Seine, just south of Paris. He came from a strong artistic background; his two uncles and father were all painters of Austrian descent. His father, Karl (also known as Charles) Joseph Kuwasseg (1802-77), who became a naturalized Frenchman in 1870, was an inveterate traveller; he was a protégé of the comte de Schomburg, with whom he sailed to South America, England and accompanied him around Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy. Charles obviously inherited his father's love of travelling but unlike him tended to paint coastal rather than inland views.
Much of Charles' youth was spent at sea with his father, which was to inspire many of his later paintings. After receiving a basic grounding in the arts from his father he settled in Paris where he trained in the studio of Jean-Baptist Durand-Brager (1814-79), military and marine painter. Kuwasseg also frequented the atelier of the genre and marine artist, Eugène Isabey (1803-86), who had himself given guidance to Durand-Brager. Through them Kuwasseg formalized his style and design and learnt the art of composition and perspective. Armed with this training he made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1855. From then on he regularly contributed views based on studies made during his travels within France, particularly Normandy and Brittany. He also showed views of a number of Belgian ports, the wind swept coasts and harbours along the North Sea, as well as scenes of Switzerland, Italy and surrounding islands. In addition to the Salon, Kuwasseg contributed regularly to the Salon des Artistes Français, 1859-1904, where in 1892 he obtained a third class medal.
Like his father he was a keen sailor and great traveller, collaborating with Théophile Poilpot (1848-1915) on a number of fine panoramas. They made sketching tours together, taking in the Italian coastal routes and are reputed to have sailed around the Island of Sicily. After much travelling Kuwasseg settled in Paris were he became a professor; among his pupils was the landscape and marine painter, Marie-Joseph Clavel, known as Iwill (1850-1923) and Emile Clavel, landscape painter. He also taught his daughter, Jeanne who showed watercolour landscapes at the Salon des Artistes Français, 1920 and 1921. Her father's work can be seen in a number of French public collections. The museums of Pontoise, Rouen and Périgueux each own two of his works, while the museum of La Rochelle and Digne house single examples. He is also represented by the French museums of Morlaix and Fécamp as well as at Montreal, Canada.