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A Harbor in Moonlight
oil on canvas
24 x 32 in. (61 x 81.3 cm)
Gift of Christian B. Peper
On View, Gallery 202
Joseph Vernet's harbor view presents four distinct types of light-campfire, moonglow, lighthouse beam, and the reflection of light on the water's surface. Connoisseurs during the Enlightenment loved a mixture of the scientific with the poetic, and Vernet's canvas provides just that. A specialist in marine pictures and imaginary landscapes, Vernet visited Naples three times during his life and drew upon his experiences there to create engaging views of the southern Italian city. The painting evokes Naples with its harbor view, lighthouse tower, and shoreline fishermen.
l.r., in black paint: J. Vernet · F. 1787.
1787 - 1792
Pope [or Paupe] collection, France, acquired from the artist 
Private collection, purchased at the sale of the Pope collection, M. Le Brun, Paris, France, January 30, 1792, lot no. 14 
Louis Charles Victor de Riquet de Caraman (1762-1839), Duc de Caraman, Vienna, Austria; Paris, France 
In auction at the sale of the Duc de Caraman collection, Lacoste, Paris, May 10-12, 1830, lot no. 104 
John Quilter, England 
Gooden & Fox, London, England, consigned to Christie's 
1969/06/27 - 2006
Christian B. Peper, St. Louis, MO, USA, purchased through Gooden & Fox, London, England, at the sale of various collections, Christie's, London, England, June 27, 1969, lot no. 26 
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Christian B. Peper 
The main source of the provenance is the 1926 catalogue raisonné, cat. no. 1156 [Ingersoll-Smouse, Florence. "Joseph Vernet: Peintre de Marine, 1714-1789." Paris, 1926, p. 40]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.
 According to the 1926 catalogue raisonné, Vernet painted the work for Pope. The 1787 Salon catalogue lists the owner as "M. Paupe…Négociant" (M. Paupe…Merchant) ["Paris Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture [microfilm]: Salon 1673-1925." Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1787, no. 35; "Collection des livrets des anciennes expositions depuis 1673 jusqu'en 1800." Vol. 34. Paris: Liepmannssohn, 1830, no. 35; "Dictionnaire des artistes exposant dans les salons des XVII et XVIIIeme siècles à Paris et en province: 1673-1800." Vol. III. Dijon: L'Echelle de Jacob, 2004, p. 1687]. The most recent version of the owner's name appears in the 1792 auction catalogue of his collection in which his name is listed as "Pope" rather than "Paupe" ["Catalogue de tableaux des école de Flandre, de Hollande et de France…par M. Le Brun Après le décès de M. Pope," M. Le Brun, Paris, France, January 30, 1792, lot no. 14, p. 11].
 An annotated copy of the 1792 auction catalogue (see note ) indicates that the painting was indeed sold; however, the buyer's name is illegible.
 The painting is listed in the 1830 auction catalogue of the Duc de Caraman's collection ["Catalogue de tableaux anciens, choisis dans les diverse écoles et formant le riche cabinet de M. le Duc de Caraman," Lacoste, Paris, May 10-12, 1830, lot no. 104, pp. 54-55].
 See note .
 According to Christian Peper, the painting was in the collection of John Quilter prior to 1969 [conversation with Judith Mann, Curator of European Art to 1800, October 2006].
 According to William Vestey, Christie's, London, the painting was consigned to Christie's by Gooden & Fox on February 14, 1969 [transcript dated September 7, 2006, SLAM document files].
 A letter sent to Mr. Peper confirms Gooden & Fox's successful bid for the painting on his behalf [letter dated June 27, 1969, SLAM document files]. The price sheet included in the 1969 auction catalogue confirms that the painting was purchased by Gooden & Fox ["Important Pictures by Old Masters," Christie's, London, England, June 27, 1969, lot no. 26, p. 12]. According to Mr. Peper, the painting was from the sale of the collection of John Quilter [correspondence with Judy Mann, Curator of European Art to 1800, August 2006].
 Deed of gift from Mr. Peper dated August 23, 2006 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, September 26, 2006.
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