Ferdinand Bellermann - Tropical Landscape in Venezuela with Bathers - image-1

Lot 281 Dα

Ferdinand Bellermann - Tropical Landscape in Venezuela with Bathers

Auction 1242 - overview Berlin
20.04.2024, 11:00 - The Berlin Sale
Estimate: 25.000 € - 30.000 €

Ferdinand Bellermann

Tropical Landscape in Venezuela with Bathers

Oil on canvas. 165 x 125 cm.
Framed with wooden frame (180 x 143 cm).
Signed lower left: Ferd. Bellermann.

As Bellermann wrote in a letter to the Stettiner Kunstverein in 1842, he had a chance to travel to Venezuela in the near future. His acquaintance with Carl A. Rühs (1805 - 1880), the Hamburg merchant and owner of a trading office in the Venezuelan harbour town of Puerto Cabello opened up this opportunity, one which so impressively should enrich his oeuvre. Rühs offered him a free outward journey on his ship, but with the departure date of 15 May 1842 only a short time away, Bellermann was under considerable pressure to organise the financial means to cover the initial planned travels of two years. He secured his time in Venezuela with the sale of three works to the formerly mentioned Stettiner Kunstverein and a grant from the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Bellermann justified his desire to travel to the Prussian king by pointing out that Venezuela had been visited little or not at all by artists and that the trip promised "a rich yield and perhaps a completely new field for landscape painting due to the magnificent character of the country and its natural forms". In return, Bellerman offered "to deposit his collected studies and results of the journey in one of the royal collections".
As well as Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Bellermann received decisive and prominent support from Alexander von Humboldt, a former chamberlain to the king. Humboldt's scientific reputation would open many doors for the painter. A letter of recommendation from the scholar was particularly decisive in this regard, in which he asked that "all persons who have preserved some goodwill for my name in the beautiful country of Venezuela, to support my young countryman Ferdinand Bellermann with their advice and friendly empathy". After numerous round trips in the country, Bellermann was able to extend his stay by one and a half years with the help of a further travel grant, so that having recovered from a serious fever illness, he was able to disembark the sailing ship Margareth - which had also brought him safely to Venezuela in 1842 - on 15 November 1845 in Hamburg.
Bellermann recorded his experiences during his often life-threatening travels to and around Venezuela in six preserved, detailed diaries.
The tropical forest in particular would become an inexhaustible subject in Bellermann's later oeuvre. The overgrown vegetation, the fascinating and alien plant world with its most fantastic manifestations, which he himself described as "fairy-like", were the foundation of all his primeval forest pictures. Only rarely are Bellermann's paintings, which hark back to his time in Venezuela, based on drawings. Almost all of those works known to us from after 1845 are based on oil studies which he completed during his travels.
When Ferdinand Bellermann died in Berlin 44 years after his return from South America, the last unfinished painting of his Venezuela series stood on the easel: Evening on the Orinoco.


West German collection.


About the artist s. Schierz, Kai Uwe / Taschitzki, Thomas von (ed.): Beobachtung und Ideal - Ferdinand Bellermann - ein Maler aus dem Kreis um Humboldt, Erfurt 2014.