- Albin Egger-Lienz
- Ave Maria nach der Schlacht am Bergisel (prayer after the battle of Bergisel)
- signed Egger Lienz lower right; titled Ave Maria nach der Schlacht am Bergisel 1809 on the reverse
- oil on canvas
- 105 by 155cm., 41½ by 61in.
Ave Maria nach der Schlacht am Bergisel, depicting Tyrolean militiamen at prayer after the battle of Bergisel in 1809, was Egger-Lienz's first monumental composition. Occupying him from 1894 until 1896 and measuring 343 by 493cm., the definitive version (Kirschl, no. M72) is now in the collection of the Ferdinandeum in Innsbruck.
Egger-Lienz made two oil replicas of the Innsbruck painting: one painted in 1897, measuring 140 by 200cm. and recorded in Kirschl (no. M89); and the present work, later in date, and executed in the pared down style for which Egger became famous after 1900. Both works found their way into the same private collection soon after they were painted, where they remained together until the earlier of the two was sold in these rooms on 24 November 2009.
The four battles of Bergisel were fought between April and November 1809 at the Bergisel hill near Innsbruck. There Napoleon joined forces with Bavaria against local Tyrolean militiamen and Austrian soldiers. Although the Tyrolean and Austrian soldiers won the first few battles, they were defeated at the conclusive one. This sombre yet hopeful rendering of faith in face of defeat is among Egger's most empathetic and patriotic compositions.
Unknowing of their whereabouts, Wilfried Kirschl, author of the Egger-Lienz catalogue raisonné, never saw either of the replicas. While he knew of the earlier replica from a turn-of-the-century photograph and included it in his catalogue, he was clearly unaware of the existence of the present work. For a discussion of the genesis of this composition, see Wilfried Kirschl, Albin Egger-Lienz. Das Gesamtwerk, Vienna and Munich, 1996, vol. I, pp. 38-47.