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Jakob Matthias Schmutzer

(1733–1811, Vienna)

A Wide Mountain Landscape with a Man Taking a Rest and a Young Woman with a Basket in the Foreground. Black chalk, grey and brown wash. 42.7 x 58.1 cm. Signed and dated in pen and brown ink: “Schmuzer 1794, in Wien.

Schmutzer initially trained as an architectural draughtsman and painter in Vienna and Bratislava. After returning to Vienna, he turned his attention to engraving and, in 1762, went to study the technique under Johann Georg Wille in Paris. After the artist had finally settled in his native city in 1766, he was appointed director of the newly founded Engraving Academy that same year and court engraver in 1767. Although mainly active as a printmaker, Schmutzer was also a gifted and productive draughtsman. This sweeping, confidently composed landscape is a characteristic example of his drawing style. It is done in a fluid, apparently effortless style and exudes a lyrical, pastoral atmosphere. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has three stylistically comparable drawings of identical format, which were done at roughly the same time, i.e. around 1795/96, and feature landscape motifs in the vicinity of Mödling near Vienna. The present drawing probably also goes back to impressions from this neighbourhood. However, the classical buildings atop the mountain crest at the top left give the composition an idealized note.

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