A Rare View of Paris by Eckersberg
We turn our attention to the Danish Golden Age and Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg's early years as a painter with a masterful view from Paris. He lived in the city from 1810-13, where he spent part of the time as a pupil of the famous French painter Jacques-Louis David.
The Aqueduct in Arcueil
The three years spent in the French capital proved crucial to Eckersberg’s artistic development. He spent a good deal of his time in Paris finding new motifs in the city and its surrounding areas. In the featured work from 1812, he depicts the aqueduct in Arcueil, located 5 km south of the city. The aqueduct was built in the 17th century for the purpose of supplying water to the fountains in the "Jardin du Luxembourg". Eckersberg portrayed the place on a sunny day with people going about their business, and the impressive edifice of the aqueduct stands out through a dramatically composed perspective. The work also reveals other characteristic elements of Eckersberg’s style, such as his focus on the light, colours and figures that bring life to the motif. At the same time, the work can be seen as a step towards plein-air painting, which he further developed in Rome and later introduced to his students at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Eckersberg only created a few views while in Paris, two of which are today located at The National Gallery of Denmark and one at The David Collection.
For Eckersberg, the sea was also an artistic focal point and the seascape was one of his preferred genres. His upbringing on the island of Als provided ample opportunity to get a close look at the sea and the ships around the island. As an adult, he used his connections in the Danish navy to go on week-long excursions. Here he made in-depth studies of the ships’ constructions and the influence of the wind on the sails, the sea and the sky. He translated these studies into works of art on the canvas, and no one mastered the seascape with as much precision as Eckersberg did. At the auction, we present one of his beautiful seascapes in the form of a motif from 1822 with an English frigate and a pilot boat in Danish waters.
Eckersberg and the Danish Golden Age
In Denmark, the first half of the 19th century was characterized by a flourishing intellectual and artistic life despite the major upheavals of the time – the bombardment of Copenhagen, the loss of the navy, the state bankruptcy and the relinquishment of Norway. The national spirit was in need of restoration, and this need formed the foundation for some of the finest works in Danish art history.
Eckersberg was one of the foremost painters of the Danish Golden Age. However, his importance to Danish art should not only be measured in the high quality of his own work. As a professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, his ideas resonated profoundly with a whole generation of painters, such as Christen Købke, J. Th. Lundbye, P.C. Skovgaard, Martinus Rørbye and many, many more. Eckersberg has since been given the well-deserved nickname as "the father of the Danish Golden Age of painting," and today he occupies a special place in Danish art history.
Paintings and Drawings
25 February 4 pm
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