Lot 155
  • 155

Caspar David Friedrich

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
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  • Caspar David Friedrich
  • Blick auf Kap Arkona, Rügen (View Towards Kap Arkona, Rügen)
  • pencil, pen and ink and wash on paper
  • 41.3 by 69cm., 16¼ by 27⅛in.


Johann Gottfried Quistorp, Greifswald
Dr. Friedrich Quistorp, Greifswald (by 1828)
Dr. Leo Becker, Neidenburg (by the 1920s, by descent from the above)
Jobst Kühne, Neumünster
Private Collection, North Germany
Sale: Hauswedell & Nolte, Hamburg, 8th December 2001, lot 600
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner


Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La Passion du Dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 77, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Essen, Museum Folkwang; Hamburg, Kunsthalle: Caspar David Friedrich. Die Erfindung der Romantik, 2006-07, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 71, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Carl Schildener, 'Nachrichten über die ehemaligen und gegenwärtigen Kunst sonderlich Gemälde Sammlungen in Neuvorpommern und Rügen', in Greifswalder akademische Zeitschrift 2, 1828, p. 40
Anon., 'Jahresbericht der Greifswalder Abteilung der Gesellschaft', in Baltische Studien, 20, 1868, Annex 34, Jahresbericht der Gesellschaft für Pommersche Geschichte, Stettin, 1868, p. 49
Theodor Pyl, 'Caspar David Friedrich', in Allegemeine deutsche Biographie VIII, Leipzig, 1878, p. 64
Otto Schmitt, 'Aquatintablätter nach Caspar David Friedrich', in Zeitschrift des deutschen Vereins für Kunstwissenschaft, 3, 1936, illustrated p. 432, fig. 11
Herbert von Einem, Caspar David Friedrich, Berlin, 1938, illustrated p. 111, no. 35
Kurt Wilhelm-Kästner, Ludwig Rohling, Karl Friedrich Degner, 'Caspar David Friedrich und seine Heimat', in Bekenntnisse Deutscher Kunst, vol. II, Berlin & Greifswald, 1940, p. 74
Herbert Börsch-Supan, 'Bemerkungen zu Caspar David Friedrichs "Mönch am Meere"', in Zeitschrift des Deutschen Vereins Kunstwissenschaft XIX, 1965, pp. 74-75
Sigrid Hinz, Caspar David Friedrich als Zeichner, Greifswald, 1966, no. 281 (dated circa 1801)
Werner Sumowski, Caspar David Friedrich - Studien, Wiesbaden, 1970, pp. 147, 185-186, 189 (dated circa 1802)
Wolf Stubbe, 'Erwerbungen der graphischen Sammlung in den Jahren 1968-1969', in Jahrbuch der Hamburger Kunstsammlungen, 14/15, 1970, pp. 276-280
Helmut Börsch-Supan & Karl Wilhelm Jähnig, Caspar David Friedrich, Gemälde, Druckgraphik und bildmässige Zeichnungen, Munich, 1973, catalogued & illustrated p. 272, no. 95 (dated circa 1803)
Marianne Bernhard, Caspar David Friedrich. Das gesamte graphische Werk, Munich, 1974, illustrated p. 277 (dated circa 1801)
Peter Vignau-Wilberg, 'Caspar David Friedrichs 'Kreidefelsen auf Rügen'. Notizen zur Landschaftsdarstellung der Romantik', in Münchner Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst, 3, 1980, p. 256, no. 30
Mayumi Ohara, Demut, Individualität, Gefühl. Betrachtungen über Caspar David Friedrichs kunsttheoretische Schriften und ihre Entstehungsumstände, diss., Berlin, 1983, p. 8, no. 21
Werner Schade, 'Eine Sepiazeichnung Caspar David Friedrichs. Neuerwerbung des Berliner Kupfertischkabinetts', in Forschungen und Berichte, 23, 1983, p. 99
Werner Sumowski, 'Zur Frage der Repliken bei C. D. Friedrich', in Caspar David Friedrich. Winterlandschaften (exhibition catalogue), Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Stadt Dortmund, illustrated p. 45, fig. 19
Ewelina Rzucidlo, 'Caspar David Friedrich und Wahrnehmung. Von der Rückenfigur zum Landschaftsbild', in Kunstgeschichte, vol. 59, diss., Berlin, 1997, Münster 1998, p. 139
Cristina Grummt, Caspar David Friedrich: Die Zeichnungen, Munich, 2011, vol. I, catalogued & illustrated, pp. 371-372, no. 373


The following condition report has been prepared by Jane Mcausland FIIC, of Nether Hall Barn, Suffolk IP14 4PP: Support This drawing on a wove type, cream paper is not laid down and, at present it is hinged onto an overlay of a window mount. The sheet is time-stained and there is a little area on the right-hand side and down the centre, probably caused by the way the light fell on it while it was displayed and possibly hung for many years in the same place. There is a slight mount stain at the edges and a slight oil stain on the left-hand side in the sky. Some small spots of abrasion, upper right in the sky, that were perhaps the result of the removal of fly spots. Medium The medium is strong, but is a little faded. There is some retouching on some abrasions to the left in the sky. Summary The condition of this drawing is fundamentally good, it being on a strong sheet of paper and the image being moderately strong.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

The present work shows a view from Vitt beach on the island of Rügen towards Kap Arkona, Germany's most northerly point on the Baltic coast.

The young Friedrich had first visited Rügen in 1801, and a number of small ink sketches drawn in situ on the island during this trip were later worked up by him into a series of larger, more complex ink drawings and watercolours with which he started to earn his reputation as the foremost German Romantic landscape painter.

The present work relates to six other views of Vitt beach (see Grummt, nos. 374-376, 420, 527 and 593). Executed between 1801 and 1807 the works differ markedly in execution, and the present work is the most detailed and elaborately drawn of the group.

This series of depictions of Vitt beach with Kap Arkona in the background were based on a drawing of 22 June 1801 (fig. 1, now in the collection of the Kupferstichkabinett Dresden). Of these works two are supposed lost, one is in a private collection (fig. 2, sold Sotheby's London, 20 November 2013) and the others are in the collections of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Kunsthalle Bremen, and the Albertina, Vienna.

Friedrich's Romantic landscapes are mostly symbolic, exploring the themes of death, transience and eternity. In the present composition the beached boat can be read as an allegory of the passing of time, a life's journey completed. Friedrich returned to the subject much later in a sepia of 1837 (now in the Hermitage, St Petersburg), reinforcing its symbolic role in his aesthetic. On the other hand, the fishing nets hung out to dry, while evocative of human labour, are also imbued with Christian connotations.

Friedrich had come to Neubrandenburg in early 1801 following a personal crisis which had culminated in a suicide attempt. It is likely that he found solace and respite at this difficult time in the beauty of creation, which rendered Rügen's sublime rugged coastline particularly attractive to him. Men's solitude in the face of the immensity of nature was to become the most distinctive feature of his subsequent œuvre.

Friedrich's depictions of Vitt beach and Kap Arkona of 1801-07 ultimately informed his famed composition Chalk Cliffs at Rügen, a version of which in watercolour is in the Leipzig Museum (fig. 3).