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A Farmstead with Barns in a Bavarian Landscape. Black chalk and point of brush, grey wash, on green grounded paper. 17.5 x 22 cm. Circa 1820.
This landscape study, undoubtedly made directly from nature and dashed off with great panache, illustrates Dillis’ ability to bring consummate artistic delicacy to ordinary everyday subjects. The nature studies made by the painter, gallery director and Bavarian art official, Johann Georg von Dillis, occupy a special place in the panorama of German graphic art around 1800. Few artists of his epoch succeeded, as he did, in producing such a direct and timeless representation of nature unencumbered by art theory.
Dillis was a highly gifted and extremely productive draughtsman, who by combining different drawing methods developed a technically refined style that was very much his own. All his life the artist used high-quality, hand-made, rag-based papers, which brought out the advantages of his drawing technique. Dillis also liked to use coloured papers, which enabled him to accurately capture the nuances of atmosphere and light. The green paper used here, which has completely preserved its original brilliance, gives the lush landscape a great sense of freshness and vitality. The sparingly applied but visually highly effective whitening invigorates the whole in an agreeable manner. A vaguely outlined lonesome wanderer on the left of the picture is the sole indication of any human presence.