W. H. Haussner was an immigrant from Germany who arrived in the United States in 1925 and bought his first painting for the extensive collection owned by his upscale restaurant in 1939, preferring 19th century academic art. He bought works for his collection at New York auctions and also from some important estates, like that of J. P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Henry Walters of Baltimore.
Winter Landscape is usually called Thawing Ice and was painted from a spot near the Grini farm near Oslo where the artist was living in 1887. It was an immediate success as a pastel, and during the years about 11 versions were painted (no version in oil), many of which belong to important museums, such as Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Stockholm, the Puschkin Museum, Moscow, and The Art Institute, Chicago. He also painted a version for Auguste Rodin in Paris in exchange for a sculpture in 1892, as Vidar Poulsson documented in the catalog for the Thaulow exhibition at the Musée Rodin, Paris, 1994. (p. 80). It has disappeared at some point, and was not registered when the museum was established, but could possibly be one of the 11 known versions.
In 1889 he painted another version, dated '89' lower left and titled Eisbruch, for the Second International Exhibition 1890, No. 1922, in Dresden, which was illustrated in the catalog. This work is also known through a color lithograph, made during or shortly after the exhibition.
We are grateful to Vidar Poulsson for confirming the authenticity of this work and for providing this catalogue note.