Oswald Achenbach • The Bay of Naples by Moonlight
Oil on paper laid down on panel
24 x 31.5 cm
Signed with initials “OA” and dated “86” lower right
1827 Dusseldorf - 1905 Dusseldorf
Oswald Achenbach entered the Düsseldorf Academy at the age of twelve to take up his studies in landscape painting under his brother Andreas. He first visited Italy in 1843. Over the next forty years frequent study trips followed. In the course of his career he returned repeatedly to the landscapes of Rome and the Gulf of Naples, where he drew inspiration for numerous oil sketches which served him as the basis for finished paintings. His works were well received at exhibitions and are highly sought after today.
Achenbach’s main interest lay in achieving subtle atmospheric effect. Although he was a close observer of natural and topographical detail he subordinated linear clarity and verisimilitude to the picturesque qualities of the motif. Many of his images focus on Italian rural life with its idiosyncratic mix of elegance and poverty and depict notable events as well as simple scenes of everyday life.
In terms of their virtuosity and painterly freshness Achenbach’s works represent a high point in German nineteenth-century landscape painting. They are held in numerous public collections in Germany and abroad.
Ludwig des Coudres: Oswald Achenbach, 1847