41
41

PROPERTY OF THE PRINCE OF PRUSSIA

Jakob Philipp Hackert
A VIEW OF THE VENUSBASSIN, TIERGARTEN, BERLIN, WITH ELEGANTLY-DRESSED FIGURES; A VIEW OF THE VENUSBASSIN, TIERGARTEN, BERLIN, WITH A GENTLEMAN ON HORSEBACK
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 200,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
41

PROPERTY OF THE PRINCE OF PRUSSIA

Jakob Philipp Hackert
A VIEW OF THE VENUSBASSIN, TIERGARTEN, BERLIN, WITH ELEGANTLY-DRESSED FIGURES; A VIEW OF THE VENUSBASSIN, TIERGARTEN, BERLIN, WITH A GENTLEMAN ON HORSEBACK
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 200,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Evening Sale

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Jakob Philipp Hackert
PRENZLAU 1737 - 1807 FLORENCE
A VIEW OF THE VENUSBASSIN, TIERGARTEN, BERLIN, WITH ELEGANTLY-DRESSED FIGURES; A VIEW OF THE VENUSBASSIN, TIERGARTEN, BERLIN, WITH A GENTLEMAN ON HORSEBACK
Quantity: 2
the former signed lower right: J.P. Hackert. fecit.
the latter signed lower right: J.P. Hackert. fecit.
a pair, both oil on canvas
each: 59.7 x 74.5 cm.; 23 1/2  x 29 1/4  in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Acquired from the artist by Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky (1710–75), Berlin, for 200 Thaler, Spring 1761;

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795–1861), for the Hofdamenflügel, Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam, 1841;

Thence by descent to a member of the 'Haus Preussen'.

Exhibited

Berlin, Königliche Nationalgalerie, Ausstellung Deutscher Kunst aus der Zeit von 1775–1875, January – May 1906, no. 659;

Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Park und Garten in der Malerei vom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, 1957, no. 25 (the former);

Munich, Residenz, Europäisches Rokoko. Kunst und Kultur des 18. Jahrhunderts, 15 June – 15 September 1958, no. 93 (the former);

Berlin, Berlin Museum, Park und Landschaft in Berlin und in der Mark, 16 September – 21 November 1976, no. 70 (the former);

Berlin, Orangerie des Schlosses Charlottenburg, Berlin durch die Blume oder Kraut und Rüben. Gartenkunst in Berlin-Brandenburg, 5 May – 30 June 1985, no. 250 (the former);

Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg, and Berlin, Schloss Glienicke, Peter Joseph Lenné: Volkspark und Arkadien, 17 June – 30 September 1989, no. 175 (the former).

Literature

J.W. von Goethe, Goethes Werke. Winckelmann. Philip Hackert, vol. 46, Weimar 1891, p. 116;

Generalkatalog I Gemälde in aller preußischen Schlössern, (GK I) Berlin 1833 onwards, nos 5734 and 5736;

G.F.K. Parthey, Deutscher Bildersaal. Verzeichnis der in Deutschland vorhandenen Oelbilder verstorbener Maler aller Schulen, vol. I, Berlin 1863, p. 536, cat. nos 6 and 7;
Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler, vol. XV, Leipzig 1922, p. 412;

B. Krieger, Berlin im Wandel der Zeiten: eine Wanderung vom Schloss nach Charlottenburg durch 3 Jahrhunderte, Berlin 1924, reproduced p. 279 (the former);

B. Lohse, Jakob Philipp Hackert, Leben und Anfänge seiner Kunst, Emsdetten 1936, pp. 48, 49, 51, 74 and 75, cat. nos 10 and 12;

P.O. Rave, Deutsche Landschaft. In fünf Jahrhunderten deutscher Malerei, Berlin 1938, p. 171, cat. no. 117, reproduced p. 117 (the former);

E. Forssman, 'Jakob Philipp Hackert und Schweden', in Konsthistorisk Tidskrift, vol. 24, 1955, pp. 18–19;

I. Wirth, Die Bauwerke und Kunstdenkmäler von Berlin. Bezirk Tiergarten, Berlin 1955, p. 199, reproduced fig. 222 (the former);

Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Park und Garten in der Malerei vom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, exh. cat., Cologne 1957, p. 16, cat. no. 25, reproduced plate 18 (the former);

Europäisches Rokoko. Kunst und Kultur des 18. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat., Munich 1958, p. 63, cat. no. 93 (the latter);

H.E. Pappenheim, 'In den Zelten - durch die Zelten', in Jahrbuch für Brandenburgische Landesgeschichte, vol. 14, Berlin 1963, pp. 114;

E. Berckenhagen, Die Malerei in Berlin vom Ende des 13. bis zum ausgehenden 18. Jahrhundert, Berlin 1964, reproduced vol. II, fig. 277 (the former);

W. Krönig, 'Kehrtwendung der Blickrichtung in Veduten-Paaren von Philipp Hackert', in Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch, vol. 30, 1968, pp. 256–59, reproduced pp. 256–57, figs 179 and 180;

I. Wirth, Berlin und die Mark Brandenburg Landschaften. Gemälde und Graphik aus drei Jahrhunderten, Hamburg 1982, p. 19, reproduced p. 18, fig. 5 (the former);

W. Krönig, in Heroismus und Idylle. Formen der Landschaft um 1800 bei Jacob Philipp Hackert, Joseph Anton Koch und Johann Christian Reinhart, G. Czymmek (ed.), exh. cat., Cologne 1984, p. 11;

W. Krönig, 'Zu 'Vedute' und 'Panorama' im Werk von Philipp Hackert 1737-1807', in Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Archäologie und Kunstgeschichte, vol. 42, 1985, pp. 269 and 272, reproduced pp. 270–71, figs 1 and 2;

A. von Buttlar, in Berlin durch die Blume oder Kraut und Rüben. Gartenkunst in Berlin-Brandenburg, exh. cat., Berlin 1985, p. 150, cat. no. 250, reproduced in colour p. 152 (the former);

I. Wirth, Berliner Malerei im 19. Jahrhundert. Von der Zeit Friedrich des Großen bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg, Berlin 1990, p. 34, reproduced p. 37, fig. 29 (the former);

F. Wendland, Der Große Tiergarten in Berlin, Berlin 1993, p. 48 (with incorrect reproductions: figs 18 and 19 are the versions in the Märkisches Museum, Berlin);

B. Weber, in Sehsucht. Das Panorama als Massenunterhaltung des 19. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat., Bonn 1993, p. 23;

W. Krönig and R. Wegner, Jakob Philipp Hackert. Der Landschaftsmaler der Goethezeit, Vienna 1994, pp. 67 and 117;

C. Nordhoff and H. Reimer, Jakob Philipp Hackert 1737–1807. Verzeichnis seiner Werke, Berlin 1994, vol. II, pp. 178–79, cat. nos 373 and 374;

G.-H. Vogel and R.H. Seiler, Der Traum vom irdischen Paradies: die Landschaftskunst des Jakob Philipp Hackert, Fischerhude 1995, p. 37, reproduced in colour pp. 70–71, figs 15 and 15b;

C. Nordhoff, 'Jakob Philipp Hackerts Jahre in Berlin (1753–1762)', in Festschrift für Fritz Jacobs zum 60. Geburtstag, Munster 1996, pp. 179–81, reproduced pp. 187–88, figs 2 and 3;

T. Weidner, Jakob Philipp Hackert, Landschaftsmaler im 18. Jahrhundert, Berlin 1998, pp. 11, 13–14 and 161, note 29, reproduced p. 296, figs 13 and 14;

C. Nordhoff, 'Jakob Philipp Hackerts künstlerische Anfänge in Berlin', in Europa Arkadien. Jakob Philipp Hackert und die Imagination Europas um 1800, A. Beyer (ed.), Göttingen 2008, pp. 90–94, reproduced p. 93, figs 4 and 5;

N.S. Schepkowski, Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky. Kunstagent und Gemäldesammler im friderizianischen Berlin, Berlin 2009, pp. 400, 401 and 562, reproduced in colour p. 338, plates 31 and 32;

J.P. Hackert (C. Nordhoff ed.), Briefe (1761–1806), Göttingen 2012, pp. 28, 232 and 233.

Catalogue Note

These views of the Venusbassin, and those of the Alten Zelte (lot 42), painted in 1761, are Hackert’s earliest known works following his three years of training in the Berlin Akademie with Blaise Nicholas Le Sueur (1716–83), and are the paintings with which he established his career as a landscape artist. The Venusbassin paintings were the first works that Hackert exhibited publicly, and the admiration with which they were greeted was recorded by the writer and close friend of the artist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: 'machten unter Künstlern und Liebhabern eine glückliche Sensation' ['they created a feeling of joy amongst artists and art lovers'].1 Having studied both Dutch landscapes and the works of Claude Lorrain, these, Hackert’s first independent view paintings, reflect a new and original concern for the systematic documentation of landscape, not only through the close study of details that he developed through his observations of nature, but in the use of alternate viewpoints to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of a place.

The Tiergarten was formerly a royal hunting area which, at the order of Frederick II in 1741, was transformed into a public pleasure garden by the painter and architect, Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff (1699–1753). Knobelsdorff constructed a network of avenues connecting a variety of open spaces, no less than three labyrinths, and disguised drainage solutions in the form of small natural waterfalls. On his way through Berlin in 1755, Jonas Apelblad (1717–86), the Swedish travel writer, praised the diversity of the landscape, paths, trees and diversions to be found in the park, describing the Tiergarten as ‘a great ornament’ for the city, and one of the most beautiful parks to be found anywhere (Vauxhall Gardens in London were probably the most developed and well-known pleasure gardens elsewhere in Europe at this time).2

The Venusbassin, one of the focal points of the Tiergarten, inspired by the French models found in the Jardin des Tuileries and in the grounds at Versailles, was a place to see and be seen, as demonstrated by the elegantly-dressed figures who promenade in the present work. Surrounded by chestnut trees, which are still young here, the pool is now known as the Goldfischteich, after it was remodelled by Peter Joseph Lenné in the 1830s to be more akin to an English landscaped park. The Zeltenplatz, a semi-circular space with radiating paths, next to an arm of the River Spree, is so-called after the refreshment tents, of which one is depicted here, along with a wooden framework covered with foliage under which guests could sit, that were located there from 1745.

Depicting these iconic locations was clearly important to Hackert. In as late as 1796 he is recorded as saying to Louise, Princess of Anhalt-Dessau, in Caserta, that he was proud to have begun his career in Berlin by painting these scenes.3 The immediate popularity of the paintings was likewise undoubtedly due to the subjects. With these landscapes, Hackert distinguished his work from the arcadian, classical vistas of Claude, the idealised, opulent gardens found in Fêtes Galantes, and even the landscape views of the Berlin painters of the previous generation, such as Carl Sylva Dubois (1668–1753), in depicting a recognisable place in accurate detail, from a less elevated perspective. Hackert's paintings are a form of historical document, recording the Tiergarten as it was at that time. Not only are the landscapes here true to life, but the figures populating them are also more realistic than the courtly Rococo characters found in earlier pastorals. It is no wonder that the paintings resonated with the rising German bourgeoisie, who could see and imagine themselves in these familiar surroundings and feel a sense of pride in the internationally-renowned park, which Hackert has depicted in its most idealised form without losing its identity.

Kröning (see Literature) coined these pairs of landscapes: 'Kehrtwendung in der Blickrichtung' (literally: 'turning in the direction of view'). They are a kind of early panorama – a conceit which clearly also found favour with contemporary citizens of Berlin. The viewer becomes the axis around which the different vistas revolve, as if one has stepped into the scene and then turned around to take in an alternative prospect from a new direction.

Fascinatingly, the two pairs achieve this effect in very different ways, despite being painted within months of each other. The Venusbassin paintings are remarkable within Hackert’s œuvre in their linearity and the symmetry with which they are composed. The rigorous attention to perspective is coupled with a careful framing within the limits of the canvas, so that the complete view is visible in both paintings. The views of the Alten Zelte, by contrast, depict only a portion of the landscape, the diverging paths of the figures hinting at the reality of the seven pathways that led from this open area into the rest of the Tiergarten, and these rather less formal arrangements, seemingly unrestricted by the edges of the composition, imply a wide spectrum of possible views. The statue of Diana, represented in both vistas, acts as a focal point which helps to orientate the viewer, who is encouraged to feel as if they too are strolling in the park and might set off down the path which stretches away before them.

Hackert produced other versions of both these pairs. Secondary versions of the Venusbassin views, one dated 1761, are in the Märkisches Museum, Berlin,4 and two other versions, datable to 1764 when Hackert was in Sweden, are in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.5 Versions of the Alten Zelte compositions, one also dated 1761, are in a private collection, formerly in the collection of the Reverend Torge, Berlin.6 And there are also watercolour drawings related to both the Venusbassin compositions.7

Note on Provenance

Both pairs of paintings were first at Schloss Sanssouci before being moved to the Berliner Schloss, followed by the Schloss Bellevue, finally coming to hang in Haus Doorn, Holland. The Venusbassin pair was acquired from Hackert by the art dealer and advisor to King Friedrich II, Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky (1710–75) for his own collection, the largest private assemblage of paintings in Berlin at this time.8 Gotzkowsky paid the not inconsiderable sum of 200 Thaler, a surprisingly large price, which may be regarded as a generous show of support for a young artist, and perhaps a canny recognition on Gotzkowsky’s behalf of Hackert’s future popularity and worth.9 

1. Goethe 1891, p. 116.

2. J. Apelblad, Herrn Jonas Apelblad's Reise durch Pommern und Brandenburg im 1755, Berlin 1781, p. 101.

3. F. Matthisson, Schriften. Ausgaber letzter Hand, Zurich 1825, vol. V, p. 78.

4. Inv. nos VII 59/769X and VII 59/770X; see Nordhoff and Reimer 1994, vol. I, pp. 2 and 169, cat. nos 5 and 345, reproduced vol. II, p. 105, figs 1 and 2.

5. Inv. nos NM 4777 and 4778; see Nordhoff and Reimer 1994, vol. p. 209, cat. nos 463 and 464.

6. See Nordhoff and Reimer 1994, vol. I, pp. 2 and 190, cat. nos 4 and 405.

7. The watercolour in which the statue is seen at the far end of the pool is in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Kupferstich-Kabinett, Dresden, inv. no. C 1944-258; the other drawing is in a Private collection; see Nordhoff and Reimer 1994, vol. I, pp. 435 and 458, cat. nos 1142 and 1229, the former reproduced vol. II, p. 371, fig. 524.

8. In 1764, over 300 paintings from Gotzkowsky’s collection were transported to Saint Petersburg for Catherine the Great and formed the basis of The State Hermitage, as part of Germany’s debt to Russia following the Seven Years’ War.

9. This amount was equal to a third of Le Sueur’s yearly income as Director of the Berlin Akademie at that time.

Old Masters Evening Sale

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