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Martin von Molitor

(1759–1812, Vienna)

Bridge over a River with Wanderer; Hilly Landscape with a Hut and a Stream. Two etchings. Each approx. 17.7 x 21.8 cm. Not in Nagler, probably unrecorded.

We can see from Nagler’s biographical notes on the life and work of Martin von Molitor that he was a landscape painter and etcher who was highly respected during his lifetime. Molitor was trained at the Vienna Academy, where his outstanding talent made him the favourite student of his teacher, Christian Brand. He compiled an extensive oeuvre of picturesque, atmospheric landscapes in oil and gouache which were very popular in the late 18th century. At the same time Molitor was a skilled and prolific engraver, convincing evidence of which is provided by these two wonderfully nuanced landscapes.

The artist uses an extremely intricate and varied etching technique to convey the intense atmosphere of the landscape. The two subtly observed, picturesque landscapes showing a solitary wanderer on a bridge and a hut beside a stream ensconced behind a hill are very rare and were not known to Nagler. Both prints are on offer as early impressions before the addition of all letters. The varied rendering of the vegetation and the terrain testifies to the subtle powers of observation available to the artist, who achieves effective chiaroscuro effects by alternating M 38 dense hatchings with transparent areas. The poetically elegiac atmosphere of Molitor’s landscapes is fully in keeping with the zeitgeist at the end of the 18th century. Very fine, differentiated impressions with thread margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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