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Christoph J. W. C. J. Haller v. Hallerstein

(1771 Hilpoltstein – 1839 Nuremberg)

Clio Writing down History. Etching. 17 x 10.1 cm. 1801. Andresen 121 II.

Born into a wealthy patrician family from Nuremberg, Christoph Haller von Hallerstein originally studied law at Altdorf before dedicating himself to the arts. He seems to have started his artistic career as an autodidact; early drawings and his first etchings dating to 1785 suggest that Haller might have derived inspiration from works by Salomon Gessner. He was taught to draw by Christoph Zwinger and soon became involved in the Nürnberger Kunstverein, of which he became a member in 1792. During the next two decades Haller undertook numerous journeys to Switzerland, Stuttgart, Dresden, Berlin and Paris. In 1818 he was appointed curator of the Royal Gallery of Paintings in Nuremberg and in 1823 professor for the art of perspective at the local art school.

At the time the present print was executed Haller was in Berlin, where he stayed from 1800 to 1808. Here he not only produced some of his best works, but also instructed the crown prince and future king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, in drawing as well as the future foreign minister of the Holy Roman Empire, Clemens von Metternich, and Prince Anton von Radziwill in the art of printmaking.

The present print is executed in a light and refined etching technique. Clio, the muse of heroic poetry, is depicted writing in the book of history. At the time the print was executed the Napoleonic wars were raging throughout Europe. As a consequence the attributes of prosperity, commerce and the arts lie scattered on the ground. The scene exudes a mild, light-hearted classicism which contrasts sharply with the tragic impact of the political events.

A very fine impression with margins. Minor paper discolouration and handling marks, occasional residues of old mounting on the reverse, otherwise in excellent condition. Duplicate of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, sold as a duplicate.

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