Dresden, Kunst Akademie 1880; Berlin, Kunst Akademie 1880.
Friedrich Von Boetticher, "Malerwerke des Neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, Beitrag zur Kunstgeschichte", 1979, p. 256, no. 33, listing this work.
Johannes Bartholomäus Duntze (1823-1895)
Oil on canvas, signed and dated 1880
60 x 90 cm.
The German landscape painter Johannes Bartholomäus Duntze excelled at portraying winter landscapes with frozen water and snow covered ground. The present work epitomizes his skill in combining nature with strong architectural forms frozen in time but populated by small groups of figures that skate on the ice and travel along the hoary road. The painting shows a scene beside the Mosel, which Duntze painted on other occasions such as 'Winter on the Mosel' of 1872 (exhibited Vienna Kunstausstellung 1872) and 'Winter Landscape on the Mosel' of 1874 (exhibited Hanover 1882). He also recorded views along the Rhine as well as scenes set in Germany, Holland, the Tyrol and Switzerland where for example he painted a view of Chillon Castle. In addition he portrayed some fine summer landscapes especially of the Norwegian Fjords. Both winter and summer landscapes are characterised by an air of serene tranquility highlighted by an atmospheric light and described with crisp thinly applied layers of paint. His work was typical of the Düsseldorf landscape painters of the nineteenth century and was very well received when shown at the numerous exhibitions, which he contributed to.
He was born in Rablinghausen near Bremen south of Düsseldorf on 6th May 1823 and died just over 72 years later on 20th May 1895 at Düsseldorf. He enjoyed an extensive training, beginning in 1838 at the Munich Akademie. He then went to Berlin to study under Professor Krause and from there travelled to Antwerp. During 1851-55 he lived in Geneva where he furthered his knowledge in the studio of Alexandre Calame (1810-64). The latter, who delighted in painting mountainous views, had also studied the Dutch masters such as Hobbema, Ruysdaël and Paul Potter, all of whose work appears to have influenced Duntze's own style. After Geneva there followed a short stay in Paris until 1856 when Duntze returned to Düsseldorf. Apart from his numerous painting expeditions, he remained in Düsseldorf for the rest of his life.
During the summer months he often went to Norway where he portrayed the majestic mountains and Fjords, notably the Sognefjord, Bewegter Fjord, Hardanger Fjord and others. Such scenes generally included figures dwarfed by their natural surroundings, such as 'Norwegian Fjord' (1873 Vienna Kunstausstellung). At other times he painted coastal scenes such as 'Tordenskiold', showing fishing boats off the Norwegian coast. But he is perhaps more famous for his majestic winter landscapes that at times featured the Rhineland castles, Princely estates, churches or windmills beside the water's edge. Such scenes typically included figures skating on a frozen lake or country folk beside a cart, all dwarfed by a central and imposing architectural form set against a bold sky.
Duntze rightly enjoyed a strong following from the public and critics alike. He sent his work to England, Switzerland, Vienna and also Norway where he showed at the Copenhagen Academy. He also enjoyed popularity at home and between 1866-88 was a regular contributor to the annual Berlin and Dresden Akademie exhibitions. But only a few of his paintings such as the present work were hung at both venues in any one year. His oeuvre is widely represented in various German, English and other private collections. A number of museums have also acquired his work including the Provinzialmuseum Hanover, the Ariana Geneva and museums of Stuttgart, Mainz and Berne.