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View of a Part of the Prater in Vienna. Brush drawing in brown over pencil. 36 x 44.8 cm.
Thomas Ender, an etcher and landscape painter, was trained at the Vienna Academy, where he received an award for his landscape drawings in 1810. His approach to landscape was modelled on that of such illustrious predecessors as Claude Lorrain and Jacob van Ruisdael, but he also engaged in extensive studies of nature, which he doggedly pursued during his walking tours through the Austrian Alps. An enterprising and industrious artist, Ender enjoyed the protection of Archduke Johann and Prince Metternich. Having taken part in an Austrian expedition to Brazil in the spring of 1817, he travelled with Metternich to Rome in 1819 and spent four years in Italy. Other journeys later took him to France, Southern Russia and the Orient. Ender’s landscapes are distinguished by their faithfulness to reality, technical prowess and sensitivity in capturing light effects.
The present highly finished landscape composition shows a picturesque scene from the Prater in Vienna. Executed with masterful, casual strokes of the brush, it is inscribed verso with the collector’s initials “J. M. Frederic Geissler graveur a Nuremberg 1832”, which provides us with a “terminus ante quem”. The work can thus be assigned to the artist’s early period, which is characterised, above all, by finely gradated tonal values and a subtle approach to landscape. This snapshot from the extensive park in Vienna is typical in that it reflects Ender’s lively grasp of light and atmosphere. On the fringes of a meadow flooded with sunlight a number of little wooden huts can be seen in the shade beneath tall, dense deciduous trees. The foliage of these trees seems to shimmer in the glaring sunlight thanks to the skilful interplay between the light and dark areas of colour. Two staffage figures reposing on the summer grass engrossed in conversation have been effectively placed in the foreground.
From the collections of Johann Martin Friedrich Geissler, Nuremberg and Paris (Lugt 1072) and Benjamin Wolff (1790 Copenhagen – 1866 Engelholm, Lugt 420).