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Rudolf Jordan

(1810 Berlin – 1887 Düsseldorf)

Portrait of the Artist Rudolf Jordan, after Andreas Achenbach. Lithograph. 24.4 x 19.9 cm. 1833.

Rudolf Jordan was first trained as a groom before turning to painting at the age of nineteen on the advice of Wilhelm Wach. In 1833 he began a course of study at the Düsseldorf Academy, where he stayed until 1840. After working for some years with Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow and Karl Ferdinand Sohn, he set himself up as an independent artist in 1848 in Düsseldorf and quickly became one of the most respected representatives of the Düsseldorf school. His first genre painting The Fisherman’s Family (1832) and the Marriage Proposal on Heligoland, done in 1834 during his student days in Düsseldorf, were enthusiastically received by the public at the Berlin Academy Exhibition. These works set standards for a new kind of genre painting in which Jordan scored notable successes: ethnographic, anecdotal portrayals of the life of the fishermen, which he observed on several trips to the coasts of Holland, Belgium and northern Germany. The date on this lithograph tells us that it was done in January 1833, immediately before Jordan commenced his studies at the Düsseldorf Academy. The monogram at the top right also permits the conclusion that the portrait derives from a painting by Andreas Achenbach. The latter attended the Düsseldorf Academy ten years earlier than Jordan and went on a study trip through the Netherlands with his father in 1832/33. The margin sketches, which apart from three grotesque heads and a horse show fishermen and their boats on the coast, reveal the predilection of both artists for maritime painting. Curiously enough, this is the third portrait of young Rudolf Jordan smoking a pipe. Evidently the impressively betasselled pipe was a characteristic attribute of the young art student, who looks at the viewer with a self-confident, mischievous smirk, while smoke escapes from his lips.

An excellent, finely nuanced impression with full margins. Slightly foxed, traces of previous mounting on the verso, a small, unobtrusive crease in the lower right-hand corner, minor traces of handling, otherwise in very good condition.

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