Alois Schönn - The Fish Market in Chioggia
The Fish Market in Chioggia
Oil on canvas. 187 x 136.5 cm.
Signed and dated lower left: A. Schönn. 1871..
Alois Schönn first apprenticed as an engraver from 1841/42, but also took private painting lessons with Leander Russ, an artist well-known for his Oriental motifs. Schönn then began to study at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna and was there taught by the history painter and member of the Nazarene circle Joseph von Führich. He took part in the Italian campaign of 1848 and there painted his first battle scenes.
Schönn lived and worked in Paris from 1850/51 where he studied the works of Vernet. He travelled to Africa in 1851, and this trip was followed by several further educational sojourns to Hungary, Transylvania, Galicia, Dalmatia, Tunisia and Italy. The present work was painted after his trip to Italy and unites Schönn's talent as a veduta painter with his gift for capturing the shortest of moments to create a work of great detail and naturalistic beauty.
Within the old walls of the lagoon town of Chioggia, the weekly market has begun. We see two market criers praising their wares, a merchant weighing a fish, a fisherman mending his nets and customers bartering. The many different groups create a fascinating composition with a snapshot character. The work also contains numerous smaller scenes on the side lines which distract from the main motifs but add life to the painting: The merchant smoking his pipe, the beggar's daughter reaching from her mother's lap for the straws on the ground and the little girl suspiciously eyeing a stray dog. These are not merely figural staffage, but an integral part of this lively market scene.
Private ownership, Germany.