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Wilhelm Gail

(1804–1890, Munich)

The Roman Carnival. Etching on laid paper. 38 x 49 cm. 1826. Nagler 2, Heller-Andresen 3.

Wilhelm Gail, who began his studies at the Munich Academy in 1820 and continued his training at the studio of his brother-in-law, Peter Heß, was predominantly successful as a genre painter and vedutist. He was also productive as a printmaker and litho­grapher of some talent. The depiction of the Roman carnival, which dates to Gail’s journey to Rome and Naples in 1826, is among his earliest works. The artist demonstrates a fine sense of humour and an excellent feeling for exotic and anec­dotal detail in his depiction of the turbulent activities of itinerant enter­tainers, musicians, charlatans and participants in the carnival procession along the Via del Corso. Visible in the background is the silhouette of the Porta del Popolo with the coat of arms of Pope Alexander VII Chigi and the obelisk on the Piazza del Popolo. The present impression is an early trial proof which the artist has reworked extensively in pencil. A strong, contrasting impression with margins. Minor ageing, unobtrusive flattened folds, otherwise in excellent condition. Rare.

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