International Art Auction

December 10, 2013

LOT 138
Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826-1889)
  • Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826-1889)
  • Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826-1889)
  • Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826-1889)


Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826-1889), French


Oil on canvas; signed with adjoined initial monogram “FH” on the stern of the boat mid left
33.5" x 55.5" — 85.1 x 141 cm.

Estimate $15,000-$25,000

Realised: $38,400
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

About artist/note:

The artist executed two versions of Rowing on the Seine: this large oil on canvas (with three additional swans depicted in the left distance) and a smaller oil (13 ¾” x 22”) executed on panel, dated circa 1860-1880. The small panel, depicting only the lead swan at the right, is in the collection of the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia. The small panel version is reproduced in the public domain:

In addition, Heilbuth executed a small watercolour and pencil preliminary sketch for this work entitled:
Ladies Boating on a Lake, measuring 4.6 in. x 7.1 in.
sold at Christie's South Kensington on November 29, 2001 [Lot 00219]

Ferdinand Heilbuth was born to a Rabbi in Hamburg, Germany on June 27, 1826 and died in Paris on November 19, 1889. He studied in Dusseldorf, Rome and in Paris. He left his schooling to become a Rabbi and traveled to Rome, Munich, Antwerp and Paris. From 1843-1846 he studied under Hippolyte Delaroche and Charles Gleyre. He also studied under Edouard Manet in the 1870’s. Heilbuth became a French citizen in 1876. It was during this period in the 1870s that the artist shifted his focus away from the Italian themes that he had previously painted and began to create more modern Parisian subjects. His earlier work included elaborate history pieces, which primarily consisted of scenes with Roman cardinals and his later work included a number of outdoor Parisian genre subjects such as this fine canvas. After 1852, Heilbuth regularly submitted at the Paris Salon, the Royal Academy, Grosvenor Gallery and the Boston Atheneum (1863). He was voted and decorated into the Legion of Honor and was later promoted to officer in 1881. Ferdinand Heilbuth sold many of his paintings and was a highly recognized and decorated artist of his time. In addition to his success on the continent, Heilbuth also exhibited in London: twice at the Royal Academy and a total of seventeen times at the Grosvenor Gallery, London (1871-1878).


Ex-Coll. Helen Cox, Detroit, Michigan who resided there during the 1940’s and 1950’s;
Passed through the family to relatives in Toronto;
By descent to the present Private Collection, Waterloo, Ontario


In 1871, Heilbuth exhibited two oils at the Royal Academy of Arts, including another scene on the Seine entitled “On the Banks of the Seine”, No. 1042.

Additional Info:

Department: International Art
Medium: Paintings
Nationality: French