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Gustav Friedrich Papperitz

(1813–1861, Dresden)

The Palm Grove near the Town of Elche in Andalusia. Watercolour and gouache on firm paper. 41.4 x 55.3 cm. Signed and dated: “GFPapperitz Elche 10. Mai 1851”.

The landscape painter and etcher, Gustav Friedrich Papperitz, was taught by Johan Christian Clausen Dahl in Dresden. He subsequently studied under Carl Rottmann in Munich and from 1838 to 1841 continued his training in Rome. Papperitz later travelled through Norway and Spain, where he spent some time in 1851. Numerous paintings and oil studies the artist displayed from 1852 at the annual exhibitions of the Dresden Academy were inspired by this sojourn. In May 1851 the artist spent several weeks in the Andalusian town of Elche, which was known for its extensive palm gardens laid out during the period of Muslim rule.

This large-size sheet derives its appeal from the enthralling, synthetic rendering of the Mediterranean landscape. Papperitz does not get bogged down in topographical and genre-like details. His intention is to reproduce the warm southern light, which so deeply impressed artists from north of the Alps. Beginning from a low vantage point, the observer’s gaze travels through the bed of the silted-up Rio Vinalopo to the picturesque arched bridge on the horizon and the plain, flat-roofed houses of the town. The towering slender palm trees which dominate the left half of the picture are rendered with great beauty and transparency and give the depiction a great deal of colour and atmosphere. This is beyond doubt a fully valid specimen of German landscape art from the late Romantic period.

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