1808 Munich - 1885 Munich
Schoolchildren in a Mountainous Landscape
Oil on canvas. 32 x 23 cm.
Inscribed lower left: S in a rhombus.
Private ownership, Stuttgart, since the 1920s.
Haus der Kunst, Munich 1985, exhibition catalogue p. 499, no. 718.
G. Roennefahrt: Carl Spitzweg. Beschreibendes Verzeichnis seiner Gemälde. Ölstudien und Aquarelle, 1960, no. 482. - S. Wichmann: Carl Spitzweg und die französischen Zeichner. Exhib. cat. Munich 1985, p. 382 (p. 499), no. 718. - S. Wichmann: Carl Spitzweg: Kunst, Kosten und Konflikte, Frankfurt/Berlin 1991, p. 253. - S. Wichmann: Carl Spitzweg. Verzeichnis der Werke, 2002, p. 386, no. 909.
This work shows a view of a mountainous landscape seen, as with many of Spitzweg's works, from what could be referred to as a “fortunate angle”. On the left side we see a small chapel, a so-called “marterl” and a bench tucked in beside a tree-lined rock face. On the right, a path winds its way towards a stone outcrop in the background and the image opens up to show the blue sky dotted with white, fluffy clouds. A small stream runs through the centre of the painting and we see a boy and girl, who Spitzweg and Wichmann refer to as schoolchildren, walking beside it.
Carl Spitzweg began to teach himself to paint during his apprenticeship as a chemist and astonishingly went on to become one of the most significant German artists of the 19th century. This was thanks not only to his exceptional talent in capturing natural phenomena such as varying light conditions, times of the day and seasons, but also his empathetic, and often humorous, observations of human kind. There was almost no other German artist of this era so well able to combine man and nature, figures in landscapes, to such a compact and harmonious whole as Spitzweg. His works brought joy to many collectors even during his lifetime. This piece, which has been kept in family ownership for almost 100 years and which Wichmann dates to 1865, is a charming and characteristic example.