Gerson Digital : Germany II


1.3 Landscape Painting in Berlin

The newly awakening landscape painting had much to thank the Dutch example for, although it was mainly the pleasing little paintings of the Italianate landscapists, to which people confined themselves. The artists of the 18th century were not so realistic yet, that they would trade the sunny shepherd’s paintings of a Berchem for a gloomy Ruisdael. There are no important talents to be mentioned. Carl Sylva Dubois (1668-1753) [1] and Georg Wenceslaus von Knobelsdorf (1699-1753) [2] worked together with Pesne. Dubois was even an immigrant Fleming, who however is artistically nearer to Frederik de Moucheron than to Jacques d’Artois.1

Carl Sylva Dubois
Extensive river landscape with mountainous border, c. 1745
canvas, oil paint 53 x 79 cm
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ 1049

Above all, Jacob Philipp Hackert (1737-1807), deserves attention.2 That is, the early Hackert, because his classicistic, Italianate vedute betray no Dutch training whatsoever. In Berlin he learned mainly through the copying of old Dutch landscape paintings from the collection of James Tribel. When he became friends with Johann Georg Wille (1715-1808) in Paris, he made no secret of his veneration for the Dutch. He even possessed a small collection of paintings with Dutch originals and copies made by himself. During his stay in the South he acquired – naturally – many Italian works, especially from the Naples school. The small paintings from his time in Berlin are by no means masterpieces: they show reminiscences of his namesake Jan Hackaert, of Frederik de Moucheron, Klaes Molenaer and other minor masters [3-4].

Georg Wenceslaus von Knobelsdorff
A pair of lovers in a park, dated 1744
canvas, oil paint 80 x 65 cm
lower left : W.K. 1744
Dessau (Saksen-Anhalt), Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie - Schloss Georgium

Jacob Philipp Hackert
The river Spree with the Palace Bridge in Berlin-Charlottenburg, dated 1760
canvas, oil paint 50 x 80 cm
lower left : 1760
Private collection

Jacob Philipp Hackert
View of Rouen, dated 1768
paper, watercolor 16 x 21 cm
lower right : Jacq.Ph:Hackert, f. 1768 a Paris / Rouën d'apres nature
Christie's (London (England)) 2010-07-07, nr. 347

The Parisian paintings become somewhat more lively – especially under the influence of Claude Joseph Vernet [5-7]. It was only in Italy that his style was to be definitely formulated, but neither he nor we would like to deny, that the Dutch masters gave him a ‘healthy foundation’ for his career.3

Jacob Philipp Hackert
View of the Goldfish Pond in the Berlin Zoo 'Tiergarten', c. 1761
canvas, oil paint 59 x 74 cm
Private collection

Jacob Philipp Hackert
View of Château Gaillard in Les Andelys on the river Seine, dated 1767
copper, oil paint 40,3 x 31,9 cm
lower left : Jacq. Ph: Hackert. f. 1767
Koller (Zürich) 2014-03-24 - 2014-03-29, nr. 3090

Jacob Philipp Hackert
View of a ruined castle on the river Seine with an elegant company, dated 1767
copper, oil paint 40,3 x 31,9 cm
lower left : Jacq: P. Hackert 1767
Koller (Zürich) 2014-03-24 - 2014-03-29, nr. 3090

Minor masters, who never made it to Italy, clung longer to the Dutch ruin style, which sometimes formed a start to the topographical appreciation of their homeland, as is the case with Johann Georg Rosenberg (1739-1808) [8-9].4 In the landscapes of Johann Sebastian Bach (1748-1778) this style comes near to its classical origin of Claude Lorraine [10-12].5

Johann Georg Rosenberg
View of Berlin from the Rollbergen at the Cottbuser Tor, dated 178[.]
canvas, oil paint 57 x 84 cm
lower right : J. Rosenberg / Pinxt. 178[.]
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)

Johann Georg Rosenberg
Idealized landscape with ruins and shephards
canvas, oil paint 91 x 134 cm
Sotheby's (München) 1993-06-22, nr. 35

Johann Sebastian Bach
Arcadic forest landscape with a ruin and waterfall
paper, pen in brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk 162 x 205 mm
Leipzig, Bach-Archiv Leipzig, inv./ Graph. Slg. 17/23

Johann Sebastian Bach
River landscape with moonlight
paper 255 x 393 mm
Schloss Ehrenburg (Coburg), Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, inv./ Z.0858

Johann Sebastian Bach
Mountainous landschap with a ferry across a river
paper, graphite, blue and grey wash 281 x 395 mm
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv./ C 2539

Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (I)
Mountainous landscape with farmhouses
paper, pen 298 x 385 mm
upper left : Kolbe
Essen (Noord-Rijnland-Westfalen), Museum Folkwang

The etchers of the ‘Sturm und Drang’ like Carl Wilhelm Kolbe I (1757-1835) look to the Dutch for support in their enthusiasm for nature. The pleasing Anthonie Waterloo was much revered at this time [13-15].6 By the end of the century realism was taken seriously: Rosenberg is said to have painted already cattle pieces in the manner of Paulus Potter and Philips Wouwerman and Carl Schulz (1796-1866) for instance went one step further, from a Wouwerman-like landscape to real, actual naturalistic pictures with soldiers [16-17].

Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (I)
Forest landschape with cabin and wanderer, dated 1810
paper, graphite, pen in brown ink 267 x 379 mm
lower left : C.W. Kolbe 1810
Munich, Galerie Biedermann

Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (I)
Oak tree at a forest lake, c. 1798
paper, red chalk 267 x 379 mm
upper left : C.W. Kolbe ft
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv./ 1950-33

Carl Schulz
Return from the hunt, dated 1834 and 1835
canvas, oil paint 50,5 x 67 cm
lower left : Carl Schulz 1834 / Carl Schulz 1835
Christie's (Amsterdam) 1995-10-26, nr. 344

Carl Schulz
Soldiers on bivouac, dated 1831
canvas, oil paint 74 x 86 cm
lower left : C. Schulz 1831
A. Wertheim (Berlin) 1930-12-11, nr. 115

Peter Ludwig Lütke (1759-1831), the teacher of Karl Blechen (1798-1840) (who himself cast off the old master style of painting), imitated Ruisdael and Hobbema [18-19]. ‘Mr. Lütke is our Ruisdael’ it says in a newspaper article of 1826.7

Peter Ludwig Lütke
View of Lake Nemi
canvas, oil paint 127 x 172 cm
Berlin, Königliche Akademie der Künste Berlin

Peter Ludwig Lütke
Watermill near Klein Glienicke, dated 1803
canvas, oil paint 72 x 91 cm
lower left : L. Lütke px 1803
Potsdam (Germany), Neues Palais, inv./ GK I 4292


1 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Dubois also made arcadian landscapes as supraportes in Sanssoucci, Potsdam (online in the Bildindex).

2 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Hackert a.o.: Nordhoff/Reiner 1994.

3 [Gerson 1942/1983] Lohse 1936, p. 8, 44, 48ff with ill.

4 [Van Leeuwen 2018] The oeuvres of Friedrich Rosenberg (1758-1833), Johann Georg Rosenberg and his cousin Johann Carl Wilhelm Rosenberg (1737-1809) are partly mixed up.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Johann Sebastian Bach: Fröhlich 2007.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Grote 1936, esp. p. 387. [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Kolbe: Michels et al. 2009, and on the connection to Dutch landscape painting: Vignau-Wilberg 2009.

7 [Gerson 1942/1983] Kern 1909, p. 433-435. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Kern refers to a Ruisdael-Hobbema imitation (more Hobbema than Ruisdael) in Potsdam that was confiscated by Russia in 1946. He also mentions a Lorrain-Both imitation that was exhibited by the Royal Academy in Berlin in 1906.

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