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Johann Friedrich Bause

(1738 Halle – 1814 Weimar)

Countryside near Weimar. Aquatint etching, after Adam Friedrich Oeser. 32.6 x 26 cm. 1777. Le Blanc 259 II, Keil 109 II.

Although Johann Friedrich Bause is best known for his brilliantly executed portrait engravings, his printed oeuvre comprises several prints on allegorical, mythological and biblical themes as well as a few landscapes. As in his portraits, Bause often drew inspiration from works by well-known contemporary painters such as Anton Graff and Adam Friedrich Oeser. The present extremely rare etching of a landscape near the Thuringian town of Weimar is no exception in this respect in that it reproduces a drawing by Adam Friedrich Oeser (1717–1799), who was active in Dresden and Leipzig. Dated 1777, it is a very early example in Germany of the aquatint technique, details of which were published in 1769 by Jean Baptiste Le Prince. The fine aquatint grain gives the scene a subtle tonal and atmospheric effect. The strong emphasis on the mood of the landscape is fully in accord with the leitmotif of sensitivity so characteristic of Oeser’s work, the expression of which reached a peak in late 18th century art and literature and was very well received in the art centres of Leipzig and Dresden. Bause dedicated the print to his fellow artist, Anton Graff, whom he first met during his studies in the studio of Johann Jakob Haid in Augsburg, the pair remaining close friends for the rest of their lives. A very fine, sharp impression with full margins. Minor ageing and handling marks, otherwise in excellent condition. From the collection of Johann Nepomuk Seiler (Lugt 3976).

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