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Two Boys Sat on a Dead Tree Stump. Oil on wood. 23 x 43 cm. Circa 1835.
The landscape and marine painter, Johann Jakob Ulrich, was trained in Paris by Jean-Victor Bertin and Théodore Gudin. At the 1824 Paris Salon he came into contact with the work of Constable, which was to exert a lasting influence on him. From 1828 to 1830 he lived and worked in Italy, staying in Rome, Naples and Sicily.
This plein-air sketch has been executed in a very free and summary manner; the artist does not get caught up in the details, his focus being rather on capturing the light and the atmosphere. The light, transparent colour application and the restrained, earthy colouration are reminiscent of the painting technique employed by German and English plein-air painters such as Dillis and Constable, whom Ulrich visited in England in 1832 and 1835. According to an inscription on the verso, the present oil study dates to the artist’s stay in England in 1835.
Exhibition: Kunsthalle Basel. Ausstellung von Werken des 19. Jahrhunderts aus Basler Privatbesitz. May–June 1943, Cat. no. 107.