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Carl Saltzmann

(1847–1923, Berlin)

Stormy Sea near Punta Arenas in the Straits of Magellan. Oil on canvas, mounted on painting board. 31.5 x 59.5 cm. Signed and dated: “C. Saltzmann 1879”.

After studying at the Berlin Academy of Art, Carl Saltzmann continued his training around 1870 under Hermann Eschke. Following a brief intermezzo in Düsseldorf, Saltzmann openeda studio in Berlin in 1877. In the course of his artistic career he became one of the best known and successful painters of the Wilhelmine period. From the very outset he was patronized, in particular, by the House of Hohenzollern. None other than Crown Princess Victoria chose him to accompany her son, Prince Heinrich of Prussia, on a two-year world trip from 1878 to 1880.

During the voyage, which led via South America to Japan and then via South Africa back to Kiel, the artist made the present fascinating oil sketch of a motif from the Straits of Magellan at the southern tip of Chile, which connect the southern Atlantic with the southern Pacific. Saltzmann demonstrates considerable deftness and expertise in capturing the force of the impetuous roaring sea, as seen from the corvette SMS Prinz Adalbert, and conjures up an atmosphere of the utmost intensity. The silhouette of Punta Arenas can be vaguely discerned on the horizon beneath the dark, ominously cloudy sky. The artist must have made the sketch directly in front of the motif and it is easy to imagine him braving the wind and the weather on the foredeck of the wildly heaving ship and depicting the thunderous force of nature with swift and unerring strokes of the brush.

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