Franz Ludwig Catel - Three Carthusian Monks in the Cloister of the Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri by Moonlight - image-1

Lot 2133 Dα

Franz Ludwig Catel - Three Carthusian Monks in the Cloister of the Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri by Moonlight

Auction 1175 - overview Cologne
05.06.2021, 11:00 - Paintings and Drawings 15th to 19th C.
Estimate: 25.000 € - 30.000 €
Result: 32.500 € (incl. premium)

Franz Ludwig Catel

Three Carthusian Monks in the Cloister of the Certosa di San Giacomo in Capri by Moonlight

Oil on canvas (relined). 72.5 x 99 cm.

The Austrian writer Karoline Pichler (1769-1843), who ran a literary salon in Vienna, published a story in 1821 that she had written based on a painting by Catel (Das Kloster auf Capri. Nach einem Gemälde von Catel, in: Minerva. Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1821, Leipzig 1821, pp. 239-308). The painting, the original of which has not yet been identified to this day, was housed at that time in the collection of Baroness Henriette von Pereira, née von Arnstein (1780-1859), where Caroline Pichler had seen it and used it as a source of inspiration. This composition depicting monks walking in melancholic silence amidst the walls of Certosa San Giacomo on Capri, bathed in nocturnal gloom and with a view of the sea and the rock formations of the Faraglioni in the distance became one of the artist's most frequently painted motifs in Rome. Various repetitions by Catel are now known to exist, alongside copies by other artists such as Peter Fendi.
Catel exhibited a version of the motif in the Roman art exhibition in 1827, which was described as follows: "From the so extremely productive and skilful Catel were (...) exhibited, a moonlight (...). The former depicts the Capuchin monastery on the island of Capri, from the portico of which a melancholic monk looks out into the moonlit elements. The feel of the night, the silence, the loneliness of the monastery on the isolated island is excellently depicted. These are not merely empty effects of light and shadow, but one believes instead to feel the beneficence of the moonlight; to look out to the sea alongside the monk, one chances to guess at what he is thinking and feeling, sees the sparks of light flashing across the sea and believes to hear its roaring, while in the tomb-like corridor another monk is just about to go with a light through the door into his cell to sleep". (Anonymous, in: Kunstausstellungen in Rom, in: Berliner Kunst-Blatt, edited by E. H. Toelke, first issue, January 1928, Berlin 1828, p. 24)
The provenance of this painting, which is housed in an old gold frame that probably dates from the time of its creation, can be traced back through several Austrian and German collections since the 1930s. It is one of Catel's technically accomplished and routine repetitions in a format of around 75 x 100 cm that was typical for the artist. The original patron of the work has not yet been traced. However, it cannot be ruled out that this may have been the painting belonging to Baroness Pereira mentioned by Pichler, or the work exhibited in Rome in 1827, but this has not been proven for certain of any of the versions known so far.
Catel never copied his own works entirely, but always changed minor details in the arrangement of the figures and the architectural details. He varied the present work through the inclusion of the pebbles on the stone slabs in the front left, which are not found in any of the other known versions in various formats.
This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of works by Franz Ludwig Catel currently being compiled by Dr Andreas Stolzenburg in Hamburg - whom we would like to thank for the present catalogue entry.


Otto Gabriel Friedmann (1879-1947), Vienna (emigrated to Colombia in 1938). - Dr. Hans Friedmann (son of the previous, 1914-2006), Vienna (emigrated to Colombia in 1938, return to Austria in 1953). - Presumably Ferdinand Joseph Nagler (1898-1980), Vienna (art auction house and antique dealership in Kärntnerstraße). - Heinz Porep (1888-1973), Munich (provenance up until this point according to notes by Hans Geller, Dresden, 1960). - 1997 Rudolf Neuhauser (1924-2010), nephew of Hans Friedmann (from him also an unaccepted offer of sale to the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin, letter dated 10.6.1997). - As of 2001 in Galerie Falkenberg, Vienna. - Auctioned by Galerie Fischer, Lucerne, 11.11.2009, lot 1079. - Private ownership, Switzerland. - Auctioned by Galerie Fischer, Lucerne, 15.6.2016, lot 1096 – Continental private collection.


Hans Geller: Franz Catel. Leben und Werk des deutschrömischen Malers zum 100jährigen Todestag des Künstlers, Ms., Cologne 1960. - Gemälde Alter Meister und Gemälde 19. Jahrhundert, auct.-cat. Fischer, Lucerne, auctioned on 10.6.2009, no. 1250. - Franz Ludwig Catel. Italienbilder der Romantik, ed. by Andreas Stolzenburg & Hubertus Gaßner, exhib. cat. Hamburger Kunsthalle, Petersberg 2015, p. 322, note 6 (entry by Andreas Stolzenburg). - Auct. cat. Fischer, Lucerne, auctioned on 16.6.2016, no. 1096.