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Johann Adam Klein

(1792 Nuremberg – 1875 Munich)

Landscape Painter on his Travels. Etching. 13.7 x 19.1 cm. 1814. Jahn 131 II.

Like Johann Christoph Erhard, the Nuremberg-born Johann Jakob Kirchner (1788–1837) was a friend of Klein’s from the days of their youth, but in contrast to his fellow artists he first trained as a bookseller before pursuing his artistic inclinations. Kirchner followed in Klein’s footsteps in moving from Nuremberg to Vienna, where he studied under the landscape painter, Josef Anton Koch. Between 1812 and 1814 Kirchner and Klein went on several walking tours together through the surroundings of Vienna and journeyed to the Wachau region, where they made numerous sketches of the picturesque landscapes in Lower Austria. The etching on offer is an excellent record of the travelling artists’ closeness to nature as reflected in their drawings. Klein depicts his companion Kirchner in walking clothes with a pipe and top hat sat next to a path on the banks of the Danube completely absorbed in drawing the surroundings. Klein thus combines the picture of his friend with the traditional pictorial formula of the topographical draughtsman in the landscape, which arose in the 16th century and was intended to ensure the veracity of the landscape portrayed. The great significance that open-air work assumed for landscape artists in the 19th century is demonstrated in exemplary fashion here. A very fine, crisp and contrasting impression with wide margins, partly with deckle edges. Minimal traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.

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