Between Civitella and Olevano
  • Joseph Anton Koch
  • Obergibeln / Tyrol 1768 - 1839 Rome
  • Between Civitella and Olevano, circa 1823
  • Pencil on transparent paper, mounted on laid paper
  • 216 × 347 mm
Sale Kunstkabinett R. N. Ketterer, Stuttgart,
April 26, 1951, lot 1386
Otto R. von Lutterotti: Joseph Anton Koch - catalogue raisonné
Vienna / Munich 1985, p. 398, no. Z 1135

The mountainous landscape around Olevano fascinated and inspired Joseph Anton Koch for decades. Always with drawing on his travels, he twice depicted the subject shown here in a sketchbook from 1805 (Lutterotti Z 904 and 841), and made use of it in the 1810 engraving series Vedute Romane and in the 1816 painting The Return of Joseph in Leipzig. This rediscovered drawing counts among the masterfully crafted landscape compositions of ca. 1820 and follows directly upon a sheet in the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna (Z 916), although certain details are further clarified here. The motif recurs shortly thereafter with a staffage of shepherds on a drawing in Schweinfurt (Z 1096, also on tracing paper) as well as in 1830 work with a romantic medievalising knight (Vienna, Z 917). The graphic collections in Basel and Innsbruck contain two further reworking of this composition from 1838 (Z 48 and 368).

A painting in Copenhagen gives a freer impression (Fig. 1), but also derives from the drawings made around 1820 and belongs to the category that Koch himself termed “painterly poetic idylls.” Whether with biblical, Homeric or contemporary staffage, he always seems to wish to show, that “I to was in Arcadia — the Arcadia of the Aequian mountains.”
Christian von Holst (extract from a report of October, 2011)