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Franz Rechberger

(1771 Vienna – 1841 Gutenstein)

Large Oak Tree. Etching. 17.9 x 22.7 cm. 1797. Nagler 2.

The printed oeuvre of the landscape painter and etcher, Franz Rechberger, who was trained by Friedrich August Brand at the Vienna Academy, comprises mostly landscape etchings which, according to Nagler, “rank among the most splendid of their kind”. These heroic landscapes, imbued with the spirit of Romanticism, testify to the nullity of human existence when confronted with the awe-inspiring force of nature. Rechberger is also known as the head of the famous collection of engravings owned by Count Fries in Vienna, which later gave rise to the Albertina Graphics Collection. Rechberger was the Albertina’s first director from 1827 to 1841. The present print, which stems from the artist’s early period, is distinguished by its exquisite technical finesse. The picturesque landscape with the impressive oak tree and a traveller sat in the foreground a short distance away is remarkable for the highly differentiated etching technique employed and the airy atmospheric effect it produces. Rechberger was undoubtedly very familiar with the works of 17th century Dutch painter-etchers. His treatment of the landscape in this print is reminiscent of artists such as Jan Lagoor, Adriaen Hendriksz. Verboom and Claes van Beresteyn. A very fine, sharp and tonal impression with thread margins around the distinct platemark. In mint condition. From the collection of Johann Nepomuk Seiler (Lugt 3976) and an unidentified collection “AT.” (Lugt 183).

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