Imaginary harbour near Taormina with figures, ships and architecture
Oil on poplar panel, 46 x 62 cm
- Private collection until February 2021
Probably the son of Jan Grevenbroeck I (Thieme/Becker 1922); presumably brother of Orazio; father of Giovanni de Grevembroch (= Jan Grevenbroeck II) (documented as such, see Dassie 2019, p. 222).
According to a signature and a date on paintings, he was in 1717 ad 1719 in Venice (Thieme/Becker 1922; Saur 2009; Dassie 2019, p. 132). According to Thieme/Becker 1922 and Saur 2009, he was around 1720 employed at the court of tsar Peter the Great in St. Petersburg. Pyotr Ivanovich Beklemishev, the envoy of Tsar Peter the Great, purchased various works from him in Venice between 1717 and 1720 and that, although there were plans to invite the artist to St Petersburg, this eventually did not happen; Grevenbroeck was therefore probably never active in St Petersburg. According to inscriptions on dated paintings he was working alternately in Venice and Padua between 1720 and 1748 (Dassie 2019) and present in Padua circa 1736/1737. He was probably familiar with the work of Claude Lorrain through etchings of Matthieu van Plattenberg. Also there is a fully signed and dated work of 1724.
Our imaginary harbor near Taormina with figures, ships and architectures, plunges us into the universe of the rare paintings of Alessandro Grevenbroeck. The architectures similar to those of Taormina and present in ancient engravings can only suggest this region of Sicily, with remains of volcanic fumes in the atmosphere of the site.
The three-masted ship found in several of artist's paintings, but more precisely and almost identically in the painting " An imaginary port with shipping and classical ruins ", inscribed "Alessandro Grevenbroeck Fec Peint *** Borsato Benzi Cechini in Venezia 1724" (oil on canvas, 54 x 112 cm, Christie's New-York, 31 May 1990, lot 18), with a fine and unusual execution, the details of the elegant figures and the poetry of the site make this recently discovered painting particularly attractive.