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Franz Sigrist

(1727 Altbreisach – 1803 Vienna)

The Young Tobias Heals his Father with Fish Gall. Etching. 23.7 x 18.3 cm. Matsche/von Wicht 4. Watermark: banderole.

1744 was the year Franz Sigrist began his studies at the Academy in Vienna, which at that time received very little support from the court, as a consequence of which it was forced to reduce the amount of teaching and ultimately to close down completely for a number of years. From 1754 to 1763 the artist was active in Augsburg, where he mostly supplied designs for prints that revealed the influence of South German Rococo artists such as Paul Troger and Josef Ignaz Mildorfer. In 1764 Sigrist returned to Vienna, subsequently producing numerous altar pieces and wall paintings. His ceiling fresco in Eger (Erlau) with depictions of the sciences is regarded as a major early classicist work.

The print on offer here must be seen in conjunction with a no longer extant painting on the same theme which the artist submitted for the competition staged by the Vienna Academy in 1753. An oil sketch he made for the painting, which arose at an earlier stage in the design, is in Stuttgart. Sigrist introduced more detail into the composition of the etching, however. Portrayed against an architectural backdrop, the young Tobias heals his father Tobit’s blindness by treating his eyes with fish gall, as the angel bade him to do. Hanna, who is stood behind him, averts her gaze. The distinguishing features of the work are Sigrist’s free yet refined etching style, the elegant drawing of the figures and the animated layout. A very fine, clear and contrasting impression with traces of plate dirt and even, narrow margins around the platemark. Minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable condition.

12.000 €

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