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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ocean Life

James M. Sommerville (1825–1899)
Christian Schussele (American (born France), Guebwiller 1824–1879 Merchantville, New Jersey)
Watercolor, gouache, graphite, and gum arabic on off-white wove paper
19 x 27 7/16 in. (48.3 x 69.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Erving Wolf, in memory of Diane R. Wolf, 1977
Accession Number:
Not on view
Schussele, the first professor in drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, was chiefly a genre, history painter and portrait painter, yet his subject matter occasionally reflected Philadelphia’s scientific tradition, as in this watercolor. One of the earliest American submarine illustrations, this picture was executed expressly for lithographic reproduction in a pamphlet of the same title published in Philadelphia in 1859. James M. Sommerville (1825 - 1899), a physician, amateur naturalist, member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, as well as an artist and a trustee of the Pennsylvania Academy, was probably the designer of the watercolor. He collected the specimens, wrote the text of the pamphlet and lithographed the image.
Signature: [at lower left]: Jas M. Sommerville M.D.
[at lower right]: C. Schussele.
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