Alexandre Calame

Alexandre Calame
(Vevey, Switzerland 1810 - 1864 Menton)

Dusk on Lake Lucerne, c.1860

Oil on canvas, 29 x 41 cm
Signed lower right A. Calame fc.

Provenance:
Asbjørn Lunde (1927-2017), New York, inv. 549.

Exhibited:
Alpine Views. Alexandre Calame and the Swiss Landscape, Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006, p. 86;
Alpine Views. Alexandre Calame and the Swiss Landscape, Storrs, The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, 2007;
The Rockies and the Alps. Bierstadt, Calame, and the Romance of the Mountains, Newark Museum, March 24-August 19, 2018, no. 30.

 

Calame’s preferred pictorial motifs were the lakes and mountains of Switzerland. He regularly visited central Switzerland for several months of every year between 1855 and 1861, often staying near Brunnen, a village on the shores of Lake Lucerne. The rich natural beauty of this region at the heart of Switzerland provided one of the main sources of inspiration for his landscapes, the other being the mountains of the Bernese Oberland. In the present oil sketch Calame has captured the fading light of dusk as it softens contours and subdues the intensity of colors. Last rays of sunlight illuminate the highest peaks of a mountain range at the far right. The striking tonal variety of the scene – the turquoise of the water, the icy blue of the distant mountains and the contrasting brown and green of the boulders and vegetation – is skillfully melded into a harmoniously balanced whole.

Calame received numerous awards during his lifetime but after his death in 1864, recognition of his work experienced something of a decline. However today he is regarded as one of the major representatives of the Swiss Romantic heroic tradition in landscape and Alpine painting.

 

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