Sailing ships, 1851
Jean Antoine Théodore Gudin (1802-1880) is considered one of the most important marine painters in the history of French art, who at the height of his career plunged almost unprecedentedly into oblivion. Gudin writes a lot about his life in the „Souvenirs“, although information about his artistic activity remains the exception. Again and again he emphasises the glamorous aspects of his life and closeness to high ranking representatives of society, thus attracting the ridicule of his critics and enviers, who make fun of his „pomposity“. Due to his numerous diplomatic missions and proximity to the court, he is later being treated like a member of the king‘s family. His first great success is the Paris Salon of 1822, which accepts four paintings and a watercolour by him – all marine subjects – for the prestigious exhibition. Five years later he celebrates a triumphant success with the public and subsequently becomes one of the leading exponents of melodramatic French Romanticism. At the Salon of 1841, Gudin was awarded a first-class medal and made a baron by the king. He was treated like a prince at the French court and like an
The founding of the Second French Republic (1848-1852) marked the beginning of Théodore Gudin‘s artistic decline. When the art bequeathed by the king is appraised, it is officially certified that his works had been overvalued by his former patron and the court. Later, Gudin was eventually in debt.