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Joseph Fischer

(1769–1822, Vienna)

Half-length Self-portrait, Looking to the Right, in an Oval Frame. Lavis etching, printed in brown ink. 21.1 x 15.5 cm. 1794. Andresen 5.

Having completed his studies at the Vienna Academy, Joseph Fischer continued his training there by attending the drawing and engraving school run by Jakob Schmutzer. His first en­gravings were published in 1790, and in 1793 he was awarded the gold medal for a reproductive engraving after a painting from the Imperial and Royal Gallery. Soon after, Fischer was appointed engraver to the Kammerhof in Vienna; most of the drawings he made at this time were landscapes. In 1797 he volunteered to compile documentary drawings of wartime events. From this point onwards he increasingly worked as a portraitist, receiving a growing number of commissions from Bohemian aristocrats and the court nobility in Vienna. In 1802 the artist successfully set up as a draughtsman and printmaker in Paris. Here he met Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy, subsequently becoming his art agent and gallery inspector. A further step in his career was London, where Fischer immersed himself in the art of lithography and was employed on the Specimen of Polyautography project. Having returned to Vienna, Fischer was finally appointed professor of landscape drawing and etching at the Academy in 1821 and became one of the most respected figures in the city’s art scene.

This stylish, hastily executed self-portrait presents the elegantly dressed 25-year-old artist as a man of esprit and confidence. It arose shortly after his appointment as Royal and Imperial Kammerhof engraver and was probably designed to commemo­rate this honourable occasion. The appeal of this rare etching derives from its informal character and the freshness of the observation. A superb contrasting impression.

8.500 €

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