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Gottfried Traunfellner

(1778–1811, Vienna)

Il Goloso (The Gourmet). Mezzotint after Martin Ferdinand Quadal. 37.5 x 27.5 cm. 1798. Nagler (Jakob Traunfellner) 7.

Precious little is known about the short life of the Viennese mezzotintist, Gottfried Traunfellner. He was the son of the respected landscape painter and academic drawing master, Jacob Traunfellner (1743–1800, Vienna). Gottfried studied at the Vienna Academy and received awards in the disciplines of drawing and mezzotint. From 1795 he created a small but artistically noteworthy oeuvre of mezzotints after works by Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Francesco Solimena as well as after models by contemporary artists like Heinrich Füger. His premature death clearly prevented him from achieving greater fame. Nagler, for instance, mentioned some of his works in the short biography of his father Jacob Traunfellner. 

Il Goloso is a reproduction of a composition by the genre and animal painter, Martin Ferdinand Quadal (1736–1808), who hailed from Niemtschitz in Moravia and was famous at the time. As a student in Paris, Quadal was patronised by none other than the Prince of Lorraine and François Boucher and was subsequently active throughout Europe. His meteoric career took him inter alia to London, Dublin, Rome, Naples, Vienna, Hamburg and St. Petersburg, where he was a member of the Academy from 1804 and died a few years later. The appeal of Traunfellner’s reproductive engraving stems from its technical brilliance and subtle use of light. A young man is plucking a hen by the light of a candle. His clothing reveals him to be a kitchen help. The artist shows great precision and psychological depth in capturing the expression on the young man’s somewhat uncouth, grinning face; the slightly open mouth suggests anticipation of the delicacy soon to be devoured and an animal-like voraciousness. The masterly technical rendering generates a maximum of materiality and a highly evocative chiaroscuro effect. 

A superb, nuanced and contrasting impression with margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in perfect condition. From the collection of F. Baumgartner, Vienna (Lugt 223). Of great rarity.

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