Recent acquisitions at the Metropolitan Museum : German and Danish

1. Carl Gustav Carus (1789–1869)
An Overgrown Mineshaft , c. 1824
Oil on paper laid down on cardboard - 28.6 x 21 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo : Metropolitan Museum

28/3/10 – Acquisitions – New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art – Information on museum acquisitions, provided on a regular basis only by The Art Tribune, is complicated to find. Strangely enough, establishments, be they in France or abroad, rarely communicate much about what is in fact one of their major activities. The only solution is to constantly inquire at museums and dealers’ as well as consult annual reports or internet databases. The number of works acquired, either through donations, purchase or “acceptance in lieu” is in fact so extensive that it would be nearly impossible to mention them all even if we had complete listings.
Although we follow new additions to the Metropolitan Museum rather closely, some had escaped our attention. We will thus devote several news items in the upcoming weeks to these acquisitions and begin today with German and Danish artists.

2. Carl Julius von Leypold (1806–1874)
Wanderer in the Storm, 1835
Oil on canvas - 42.5 x 56.5 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo : Metropolitan Museum

3. August Heinrich (1794–1822)
At the Edge of the Forest, c. 1820
Oil on canvas - 27.3 x 32.4 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo : Metropolitan Museum

Since purchasing its first Caspar David Friedrich in 2000, the Metropolitan Museum is striving to put together an ensemble of Germanic paintings influenced by this artist. A Johann Christian Dahl (see news item of 10/3/08) and a Carus (see news item of 2/12/07) were acquired recently. Another Carus, an oil on paper (ill. 1), was also donated in 2007 by Eugene V. Thaw.
Carl Julius von Leypold is another German shaped by the painter, as finely illustrated by Wanderer in the Storm (ill. 2) purchased in 2008 by the museum from the Thomas Le Claire Gallery. The figure of the solitary walker, surrounded by the raging elements, is an eminent Friedrich theme.
Before dying at the young age of twenty-six, August Heinrich was also close to Friedrich : along with his friend, he is one of the Two Men Contemplating the Moon represented in the master’s canvas, acquired in 2000. The Daxer & Marschall Gallery sold the Metropolitan a canvas by this little-known artist in 2008. At the Edge of the Forest (ill. 3) had been held since the early 20th century in a French collection.

4. Carl Rottmann (1797–1850)
The Cemetery at Pronoia near Nauplia, c. 1841-1846/47
Oil on canvas - 25.4 x 30.5 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo : Metropolitan Museum

5. Joseph Anton Koch (German, 1768–1839)
Heroic Landscape with Rainbow, 1824
Oil on canvas - 108.6 x 95.9 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo : Metropolitan Museum

Carl Rottmann’s landscapes represent man’s fragility in face of nature, as do Friedrich’s, but they do so in a different atmosphere. An oil on canvas by Rottmann, donated by Eugene V. Thaw like the Carus, which is very sketchy entered the Metropolitan Museum in 2007 (ill. 4).
This review of 19th century Germanic paintings acquired by the Met concludes with the Austrian Nazarene painter Joseph Anton Koch whose large Heroic Landscape with Rainbow (ill. 5) was bought at Sotheby’s London [1] through Colnaghi. Although the painting dates from 1824, it repeats a well-known composition of this artist who in fact produced several versions over the course of many years. The landscape comes from a 1795 watercolour representing the city of Vietri sur Mare, on the Gulf of Salerno [2]. From 1805-1806, there is notably a black chalk drawing belonging to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg [3] and another paintingheld at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe, both very close in style to the work which just joined the Metropolitan Museum.

6. Constantin Hansen (1804–1880)
Columns of the Temple of
Neptune at Paestum
, 1838
Oil on canvas - 32.1 x 25.4 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo : Metropolitan Museum

7. Fritz Petzholdt (1805–1838)
German Landscape with View towards a Broad Valley, c. 1829-1830
Oil on paper laid down on canvas - 14.8 x 26 cm
New York, Metropolitan Museum
Photo : Metropolitan Museum

We had mentioned the Martinus Rorbye which entered in 2007 (see news item of 10/3/08) without pointing out that it was donated by Eugene V. Thaw. Two other Danish paintings by students of Eckersberg recently joined the museum collections. One was once again donated by Eugene V. Thaw in 2007 : a painting by Constantin Hansen representing Columns of the Temple of Neptune at Paestum (ill. 6) produced in 1838, during the artist’s long stay in Italy between 1835 and 1844. The second was donated in 2009 by Wheelock Whitney III, in honor of Eugene V. Thaw : this is a German Landscape with View towards a Broad Valley by Fritz Petzholdt (ill. 7), an artist who died at a young age after committing suicide at 33 and who only did landscapes throughout the course of his short career.

Didier Rykner, dimanche 28 mars 2010


[1] Auction of 30/5/08 for 1,812,500 pounds.

[2] Cf. the exhibition catalogue of the Musee de la Vie Romantique in Paris in 2008, L’Age d’or du romantisme allemande. Aquarelles & dessins a l’époque de Goethe, cat. 64, pp. 176-177.

[3] This drawing was exhibited at the Musee de la Vie Romantique in 2008 (see preceding note).

imprimer Print this article

Previous article in News Items : Janniot’s legal heir opposes Kawamata’s project for the Palais de la Porte Doree

Next article in News Items : Another donation for the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille