Framed: 29 1/2 x 40 1/4 inches
Henri Rudaux is a versatile artist who was able to focus his considerable talents on many modes of painting. Rudaux painted genre scenes, portraits, landscapes, and marine subjects and was highly regarded as an illustrator of French periodicals. He is however, most celebrated for his marine paintings.
Rudaux first received artistic instruction from his father, Edmond Adolph Rudaux. Later, he studied with Benjamin Constant and Jules Lefebvre, two of the best teachers one could find in Europe. Having established his studio in Paris, Rudaux exhibited often at the Sociétaire des Artistes Francais starting in 1893. He showed his paintings at the Salon on a number of occasions, receiving an honorable mention in 1897.
French Battleships at Sea depicts a group of French gun-ships steaming off the coast of Montenegro in the Adriatic Sea. They are formidable indeed as they cut through a light green sea. There is a great sense of purpose in this painting. These French ironclad ships are most certainly on a mission of State. Although our research does not reveal the actual necessity for the presence of the French Navy, there were continual hostilities between Montenegro and Turkey that often broke peace. France may have come to the aid of their ally Montenegro and Nicolas 1st to stem a perceived threat. The other possibility is much more benign. The French Navy is making a friendly visit, which by itself was a rather important event.
Nicolas 1st ruled Montenegro from 1860 to 1918. During his reign he affected many military, administrative and educational reforms. He was responsible for Montenegro’s strengthened position among the smaller European nations.