A Painting by Martinus Rorby Acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago


Martinus Rørbye (1803-1848)
Young Abbot Reading, 1836
Oil on Canvas - 39 x 28 cm
Chicago, Art Institute
Photo : Galerie Michel Descours

27/4/13 - Acquisition - Chicago, Art Institute - Following its rediscovery a few years ago, 19th century Danish painting is now systematically acquired by major European and American museums.
While Christoph Eckersberg remains the most familiar name, he is not the only great artist of the school, characterized by a very meticulous treatment, close to that of the Dutch Golden Age, along with a Romantic spirit comparable to that found in contemporaneous German painting.

The Art Institute of Chicago recently acquired a painting by Martinus Rorby from the Galerie Michel Descours in Lyon, included in a previous exhibition [1].
The canvas, representing a young abbot reading, is the artist’s most famous work. He painted this composition for the first time in October 1836 while in Subiaco, in the countryside near Rome where he stayed from late August to early November. Following its success, he produced four replicas. The last one, dated 1842, resides at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhaguen and was exhibited in Paris at the Grand Palais in 1984-1985, while the whereabouts of the other three remained unknown until the 1838 version resurfaced on the Danish art market in 2005.

The painting acquired by Chicago, the only one to have been found which dates from 1836, and more sketchy than the other two known ones, is probably the first to have been produced by Rorby. At once a genre scene, portrait and landscape, it could have very well been included in the exhibition devoted to windows in art presented at the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne (see article, in French). A few years later, another Danish painter, Vilhelm Hammershoi, would be particularly inspired by this theme.

Version française


Didier Rykner, samedi 4 mai 2013


Notes

[1] We would like to point out that the gallery is currently showing a drawing exhibition. The catalogue arrived after we had written our article on the shows organized by dealers at the same time as the Salon du Dessin and we were thus not able to include it in our review.



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