Anonymous sale, Lyon, Anaf Arts Auction, October 20, 2002, lot 164, for ?450,000, where acquired by the present owner.
This pair of mediterranean harbour scenes are amongst Lacroix de Marseille's most impressive works. Like his first dated works from 1743, they depict a different harbour at sunrise and sundown and this was a theme, inherited from Claude-Joseph Vernet, that would dominate his oeuvre. Lacroix had almost certainly studied under Vernet in Rome where he is first documented in 1750.υ1 The following year he made four copies of works by Vernet which are almost indistinguishable from Vernet's originalsυ2 and it is on the basis of this and the obvious debt that his entire oeuvre owes to him, that, in the absence of any documentary evidence, it is assumed that Lacroix studied under Vernet in Rome until or shortly before the latter's departure for France in 1753.
In terms of scale and subject matter this pair of views may be compared with the Morning and Evening from 1772 and 1773, respectively, that sold London, Christie's, 17 December 1999, lot 94, for £650,000 ($1,043,185). The triumphal arch at the left of the former is a motif that recurs in the artist's oeuvre, for example in the right hanging pendant from 1776 that sold London, Christie's, 10 December 1993, lot 56.
1 A View of a Seaport is signed and dated 'Grenier. de La. Crois. fecit Rom 1750' in Ohio, Toledo Museum of Art; see France and the Eighteenth Century, exhibition catalogue, London, Royal Academy, January 6, 1968 - March 3, 1969, no. 358.
2 Both Vernet's originals and Lacroix de Marseille's copies are now at Uppark, Sussex.