Friedrich Loos

Friedrich Loos (Graz 1797 - 1890 Kiel)

Study of Clouds: Evening, 1846 or later

Oil on paper, laid down on cardboard, 10 x 23.5 cm
Annotated on the verso XXXI. Friedr. Loos. / h. 10 x br. 23,5 cm. / Abendliche Wolkenstudie um 1848

Provenance:
Alois Schardt (1889-1955), former Director of the Nationalgalerie, Berlin
William Dieterle (1892-1972)
Thence by descent

→ DEUTSCHER TEXT

 

In this plein-air oil sketch Friedrich Loos's primary interest focuses on atmospheric qualities when evening light begins to change colours and a hazy mist rises at sunset. The unusually broad horizontal format and the low horizon of the composition emphasize the expansiveness of the view. In terms of colour, the foreground with its schematically sketched group of buildings, and the bright patch of cloudless sky are clearly distinguishable from the glow of light concentrated over the horizon, where the setting sun produces bands of yellow, orange and violet in the sky.

Artists working on studies from nature in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Rome had an important formative influence on the handling of light and atmosphere in plein-air painting. Examples are the English artist Thomas Jones (1742-1803), the French artist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819) and notably, Johan Clausen Dahl (1788-1857). Dahl, a Norwegian-born painter who had moved to Dresden, produced a large body of evocative oil studies from nature during and after his visit to Italy in 1820-1. He returned repeatedly to atmospheric studies which centre on the fleeting effects of sunlight in an evening sky.[1]

Friedrich Loos was born in Graz in 1797, but raised in Vienna. He entered the Vienna Academy in 1816 and received a training rooted in 18th-century academic tradition under Mößmer and J. Fischer. Extensive travel gave him the impulse to paint en plein-air. He went to Salzburg in 1821, where he settled in 1826 for a number of years after visits to Hungary and Leipzig. At the time, Salzburg and the Salzkammergut were as popular as Italy for painters from northern Europe like Ferdinand Olivier, Ernst Welker, Friedrich Philipp and Heinrich Reinhold, Johann Adam Klein, Carl Rottmann and Ludwig Richter.

After living in Vienna and Klosterneuburg from 1835 to 1846 he travelled to Florence and then on to Rome. Given his artistic interests, Loos was less attracted to the German artistic community in Rome than to other artists working sur le motif in the city and its environs.[2] He left Rome in 1852, returning north via Switzerland. In Düsseldorf his work was well received by Johann Wilhelm Schirmer. He is known to have spent time in Berlin, Oldenburg, Hamburg and Copenhagen. He spent the final years of his life in Kiel.

The Kunsthalle in Kiel is planning an exhibition of Loos's work. This will be staged in 2015.


[1] For a number of consecutive examples, see Bang 1987, I, p.99f.

[2] Loos's oeuvre was only rediscovered in 1924-5 when works from his estate were exhibited in Leipzig, Berlin and Dresden (see Thieme-Becker, Künstlerlexikon, XXIII, Leipzig 1927). Selected literature on Loos, see Kurt Eberlein, 'Friedrich Loos', Westermanns Monatshefte, May 1934; Graphisches Kabinett, Günther Franke, exhib. cat., Friedrich Loos, Hundertzwanzig Landschaften um Wien und Salzburg aus den Jahren 1819-1845, Munich 1937; Ulrich Christoffel, Friedrich Loos, Ein unbekannter Maler aus dem Salzkammergut, Munich 1937, repr.; Peter Pötschner, Wien und die Wiener Landschaft, Salzburg 1978, pp.34, 68, 92, 96 and 297, figs. 156-60; Ulrich Schulte-Wülwer, Sehnsucht nach Arkadien, Schleswig Holsteinische Künstler in Italien, n.p. 2009, pp.228-35.

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