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Johann Philipp Veith

(1768–1837, Dresden)

Works of Leisure / Ouvrages de Loisir. Typographical preface and table of contents in German and French, 12 etchings. 31.5 x 22.6 cm (sheet size). 1822. In original paper envelope. Nagler 37.

Johann Philipp Veith was trained as a landscape draughtsman and engraver by Adrian Zingg at the Dresden Academy. From 1785 he contributed to the Academy’s exhibitions views of Saxony that were executed in sepia technique in the style favoured by Zingg. After 1790, Veith’s landscape drawings in chalk and bistre, in which he gradually disassociated himself from the conventional veduta and revealed a truer feeling for nature, were held in very high esteem. Veith produced a very extensive output of prints, including reproductive engravings, landscapes, vedute of his own invention, and book illustrations. Despite his membership of the Dresden Academy and a post as a teacher of landscape art, Veith was forced to work as a reproductive engraver in order to earn his living. In addition to this bread-and-butter work the artist etched for his own amusement small, poetic landscapes, which he published in two instalments entitled Works of Leisure. These are landscape motifs from the Grosser Garten in Dresden and Italian subjects which the artist had drawn on his two study trips there in 1802 and 1813. The etchings are executed with great technical mastery in a meticulous and refined style. A predilection for the sentimental and picturesque, originating in the artistic taste of the waning 18th century, characterizes these intimate scenes from nature. Tiny staffage figures add life to the lush, park-like landscapes and heighten the lyrical mood. Veith’s efforts at stagecraft, however, sometimes have an artificial effect and take away some of the freshness of his feeling for nature. His gifts are most evident in the compositions in which he has dispensed with staffage figures altogether, thus creating a mood of contemplative reverie.

Very fine, contrasting impressions with full margins. Slightly foxed, otherwise in impeccable condition. From the Collection of Johann Nepomuk Seiler (1793 Munich – 1876 Kempten), not in Lugt.

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