(Attributed to) Benjamin Ferris, (American, 1856-1934)
Canal in Venice
Oil on canvas, 20 7/8 x 15 inches
REFERENCE: Robert Wilson Torchia, The Gilmans (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 1996)
The architecture and the presence of the gondola pole in the center foreground suggest that this scene represents a canal in an obscure section of Venice. While the majority of American artists painted colorful and idealized views of the city's tourist attractions, Gilman followed the examples of Whistler and Sargent, who chose their subjects from its dilapidated, working-class neighborhoods. Here the artist was concerned with capturing the effect of the strong afternoon sun on the picturesque old buildings and the surface of the canal. The uppermost sections of the buildings are brilliantly illuminated, creating a contrast with the shadowy areas below. This painting resembles the work of Telemaco Signorini (1835-1901) and Silvestro Lega (1826-1895), who were associated with the group of Italian painters known as the Macchiaioli.