View of Lake Altaussee and the Dachstein

View of Lake Altaussee and the Dachstein
signed and dated 'Waldmüller 1834' (centre right)
oil on panel
12 ¼ x 10 ½ in. (31 x 26.5 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Löscher, Vienna, 11-13 May 1863, lot 77.
Johann II. Fürst Liechtenstein, by 1907.
Dr. Hermann Eissler (1860-1953), Vienna, by 1930.
Banned from export under the Nazi regime and held in the apartment of the above, 29 October 1938.
Berta Morelli (1893 – 1975), Vienna, by December 1938, acquired as a gift from her father, Dr Hermann Eissler.
Purchased by Maria Almas Dietrich, Munich, together with two other paintings by Waldmüller from the above and Hortense Eissler for Reich Chancellery in May 1939.
Reich Chancellery, by whom acquired from the above as part of the collection for the planned Linz Museum (Linz no. 734).
Recovered by the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section for the Salt Mines, Alt Aussee (no. 6442), and transferred to the Central Collecting Point, Munich, 22 October 1945 (MCCP no. 11228).
with Galerie Nathan, Zurich.
Transferred into the custody of the Bavarian Ministerpräsident, December 1948, thereafter into the custody of the German federal government, June 1949.
On loan from the above to the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, 1966 (inv. no. Lg 755).
Restituted to the heirs of Dr Herman Eissler in 2020.

A. Roessler and G. Pisko, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. Sein Leben, sein Werk und seine Schriften (mit Werkverzeichnis), Vienna 1907, no. 91.
A. Roessler, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Vienna, 1908, no. 57.
Federal Republic of Germany, Federal Art Administration, Property Card of the CCP Munich, Mü-Nr. 11228.
B. Grimschitz, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (mit Werkverzeichnis von Bruno Grimschitz und Emil Richter), Salzburg, 1957, p. 311, no. 385, as: 'Der Altausseer See gegen den Dachstein', illustrated.
Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württemberg, IV, Berlin, 1967, p. 128.
H. Schwarz, Salzburg und das Salzkammergut: Eine künstlerische Entdeckung d. Stadt u. d. Landschaft in Bildern des 19, Salzburg, 1977, no. 210.
R. Feuchtmüller, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller - Leben, Schriften, Werke, Vienna, 1996, p. 460, no. 429, as: 'Der Altausseer See gegen den Dachstein', illustrated.
S. Lillie, Was einmal war: Handbuch der enteigneten Kunstsammlungen Wiens, Vienna, 2003, p. 111.
Vienna, Künstlerhaus, 1890, no. 186.
Vienna, Hagenbund, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. Ausstellung des Hagenbundes und der Neuen Galerie in den Räumen des Hagenbundes, 1930, no. 28 (31).
Salzburg, Galerie Welz, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Summer 1937, no. 9.
Salzburg, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. Gedächtnisausstellung. Residenz, 1953, no. 57.
Karlsruhe, Staatlichen Kunsthalle, Kat. Neuere Meister, 1971/72, no. 504.

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Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair

Lot Essay

The present work, painted in 1834, is a tour de force by Austria's leading painter of the Biedermeier. Primarily known for his genre paintings, Waldmüller himself considered his artist’s calling to be the representation of nature. As he wrote in 1846: 'recognition that nature must be the only source and sum total of our study; there alone can be found the eternal truth and beauty, the expression of which must be the artist's highest aim in every branch of the plastic arts.' (quoted in A. Roessler, G. Pisko, Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller: Sein Leben, sein Werk und seine Schriften, Vienna, 1907, vol II, p. 9).
View of lake Altaussee and the Dachstein belongs to a sequence of landscapes painted in the Salzkammergut, an area in which Waldmüller spent his summers from 1829 until 1843. This period is regarded as the climax of his development as a landscape painter and by 1834 the majority of his artistic output consisted almost entirely of landscapes painted in the Salzkammergut. These sojourns in the mountains seem to have giving him the opportunity to liberate himself from formal portraiture which had dominated his career so far. He quickly became fascinated by the untouched and pristine nature of the surrounding landscape 'Waldmüller was captivated by the pristine green wilderness in its summery growth, the narrowly limited segment of nature with its cool shadows and the grasses and stones, branches and leaves, glowing in warm, sunlit colours..The lack of aerial perspective in the high mountains favoured Waldmüller’s artistic intentions, making the faraway mountain chains and forest slopes appear as clear and as tangible as the foreground motifs, with no loss of definition in the distance, which for Waldmüller was an essential requirement.' (B. Grimschitz, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Salzburg, 1957, p. 47)
Based on his own observation from a real vantage point, View of lake Altaussee and the Dachstein reveals Waldmüller’s ability to create a remarkable sense of recession and depth using an extremely precise technique reproducing both the smallest background details and the principle foreground elements without losing definition. The landscape betrays the idiosyncrasy of a Biedermeier landscape with its luminosity, contrast of light and shadow, symphony of colour, the sunlit mountain peaks reflecting in the shimmering blue of the lake, and just a small cluster of houses to remind us of human existence. Dating from 1834, Waldmüller’s plein-air landscapes from this period can be regarded as a milestone on the way to modernism.

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