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Christian Zacho

(1843 Grenaa – 1913 Copenhagen)

View of Non Mølle and Hald Sø. Oil on canvas. 36 x 58 cm. Signed, dated and inscribed “Non Mølle / 6 Septbr. 1873 Chr Zacho”.

The painter Christian Zacho studied at the Copenhagen Aca­demy from 1862 to 1867. He subsequently continued his training under Janus la Cour and P. C. Skovgaard, with whom he was in close personal contact and in whose house he lived for four years. A highly regarded landscape painter during his lifetime, Zacho was represented at the annual art exhibitions staged by the Academy in Charlottenborg from 1865 until his death in 1913. As was the case with his teacher Skovgaard, the countryside in his native Denmark played a key role in his painted oeuvre, evidence of which is provided by this intensely atmospheric landscape study.

It presents a view of the picturesque Hald Lake not far from the Non Mølle water mill in the Dollerup Hills in the region of Viborg (Midtjyland). The study is imbued with a deep natural lyricism reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich. The outlines of the windblown deciduous trees make them stand out like arabesques against the magnificent evening sky. The artist has captured the typical northern light with great subtlety and sensi­tivity. The finely gradated, restrained green and brown tones of the foliage and terrain form an effective contrast to the spectacular evening sky painted in iridescent hues of yellow, blue and violet. The whole radiates a solemn, meditative tranquillity which has an almost compelling impact on the observer. Zacho painted the Hald Lake motif at least twice in 1873, as is apparent from the estate catalogues of 1913 and 1914. See catalogue Sidste Maleri-Auktion over afdøde Professor Chr. Zacho's Efterladte Arbejder, Auction 16, Copenhagen, 17 February 1914, no. 131.

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