'This stuff makes you crazy' - great German Romanticist print art is for sale

Philipp Otto Runge's Die Vier Tageszeiten (Die Zeiten), regarded as one of the main works of German Romanticist print art, will be called up at Ketterer Kunst on May 14.

"The rare first edition of this key work will definitely generate much interest, as a mere 25 copies are in existence world-wide, many are in possession of renowned museums", noted Robert Ketterer.

The series of 4 engravings, created from 1803-05 (measuring 2.9 x 18.7 in) are first editions, estimated at €40,000-60,000 (up to $82,300). This should make an excellent investment.

Runge print
Runge's intriguing work

Even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was rather critical about Romanticism and its artists, was fascinated by Runge's work. The great poet was enthused about both its formal grace and the ingenious combination of motifs, at the same time he was puzzled by the mazy mysticism.

A copy of the 'Tageszeiten' series adorned his music room in Weimar. "This stuff makes you crazy, its bodacious and beautiful at the same time" he said on the occasion of a visit from the art collector Sulpiz Boisserée.

Runge print

Philipp Otto Runge became occupied with this series of engravings, which is of high importance for German Romanticism and art history in general, in Dresden since late 1802. He created the cycle as complements in terms of form and content and composed the sheets like a symphony.

The very rare first edition was released in 25 copies by Perthes in Hamburg in 1805 and made for great interest and demand among renowned contemporaries, so that Runge decided to release a second edition of presumably 250 copies.

The duplication of the Zeiten had great impact on artists such as Schinkel and Schwind. The engravings' unusual large format emphasizes the artistic standard and programmatic rank of the series as one of the main graphic works of Romanticism. The estimate is at €40,000-60,000.

Along with Alexander Koester's red chalk drawing Enten am See (estimate: €6,000-8,000), the section of Art of the 19th Century also comprises two oil paintings by Carl Spitzweg. While his mountain pasture in the Inn Valley has been estimated at €14,000 to 18,000, some €18,000-24,000 is expected for his Kaktusfreund.

Friedrich Wilhelm Kuhnert is also represented with some interesting landscape and animal depictions. Estimates range between €350 and €6,000.

In the Old Masters' section Musizierende Engel (Angels Playing Music ) from Lombardy takes us to heavenly realms. The two frescoes from the early 16 th century have been estimated at €6,000-8,000 each.

The Landschaft mit Flusslauf (Landscape With River) was made in Flanders of the second quarter of the 17th century. The oil painting on wood in a size of 123.5 x 158.5 cm comes from a private Swiss collection and will be called up between €12,000 and €16,000.

The range of offers will be completed by works by Albrecht Dürer and Adriaen van Ostade. While the former is represented with his engraving Saint Jerome in His Study from 1514, the latter provides the Bezahlung der Zeche, which, according to Godefroy, is extremely rare in this state.


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