“ See ,
(Beauty) lies so near ”
Karthaus, Carl Friedrich (Wuppertal-Barmen 1852 – Potsdam 1928). Rhine Landscape with
Rolandswerth , Nonnenwerth and Drachenfels / Wolkenburg ,
seen from Rolandseck at setting sunlight .
With dominant Roland’s Arch along with the tower and little Roland temple built by the Cologne sugar manufacturer Joh. Jac. vom Rath (1792-1868). Front left Hotel Rolandseck-Groyen – later Soviet embassy; the facade cultural monument since 1981/82 – before its northern extension building of the late 19th century with accessories in the street. Between embankment and the holm steam ferry, here and there set back sailing boats. Oil on canvas. Inscribed lower right:
Karthaus (18)87. 18¾ × 25¾ in (47.5 × 65.3 cm). Black bordered 6.5 cm wide model frame in 16.7-carat green gold foil antique.
Boetticher I/2 (1895), 677; Thieme-Becker XIX (1926), 576: “exhibited 1886/92 on the Berlin Academy Exhibition, 1893-1918 on the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, occasionally (1899, 1904) in the Munich Glass Palace, 1921 on the exhibition ‘Potsdam Art Summer’. Painted (beyond what already Boetticher did not get) mainly after motifs from Italy, Sicily, Egypt, and the Isle of Wight. A small special exhibition of K.’s works took place at Fritz Gurlitt’s in Berlin in 1906.”
Here now , however ,
for the Rhenish part turned into picture
“ … one of the world’s
7 finest vistas .”
And this by no means just for Alexander von Humboldt as in this respect the most famous. For when 1837 William Turner created twenty watercolor vignettes for the purpose of steel engravings for a new edition of the Scotsman Thomas Campbell’s poems, he did so for a man, in whose idea the foundation of London University (1836 with College beginnings 1826 & 1828) ultimately originates, born from conversations with professors of the just founded university at Bonn on occasion of his month-long stay there in 1820. Among these one with Roland’s Arch, Nonnenwerth & Drachenfels. With which it has a peculiarity:
“ A particularly striking feature of his vignette is its very high viewpoint. This does not derive from any of Turner’s own experiences and surely must have been specifically requested by Campbell himself who
had gazed down on Nonnenwerth and Rolandseck
with such deep emotion in 1820 ”
(W. Beattie [Ed.], Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell, 1849, II, 362-372 & 386/87, after Cecilia Powell in the catalog to the 1991/92 Tate Gallery exhibition Turner’s Rivers of Europe – The Rhine, Meuse and Mosel, page 117 with illustration). And Powell there before:
“ He was particularly enchanted by the Drachenfels (“According to statistics … the most visited tourist destination of the world” [Welchert, Geschichtswanderungen in Deutschland, c. 1984, 129]) and Rolandseck, which he pronounced
the most beautiful scene
he had ever beheld ,
and by the ‘Paradisiacal views of the Rhine’
from the highest of the Seven Hills. On his last day he bade farewell to Rolandseck by repeating the ancient poem about Charlemagne’s brave warrior, the ‘Chanson de Roland’, and composed [The Brave Roland quoted completely by Powell] his own version of the story which
associates Roland with the Rhine .”
And already four years before this paradisiacal place had inspired Lord Byron with the familiar prelude to his famous description within his Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:
“ The castled Crag of Drachenfels , Frowns o’er the wide and winding Rhine … ”
on which Cecilia Powell annotates on page 99 of the above:
“ Paradoxically, however, the lofty hills over the convent island are only seen to good effect when looking downstream from a distance, as in Turner’s view here: thus the Drachenfels is the smaller and far less threatening hill on the right, while the ruin on the left is Roland’s Arch, all that remained of a once mighty castle. In Turner’s day this scene was particularly evocative because of the historical and legendary events connected with it. (The latter o)ne of the reasons why Childe Harold longed so passionately for his absent love at this spot … .”
To visualize this may refresh the pleasure of beholding where this painterly composition is daily routine. This ensemble rendered here then in the light of the south as indeed Karthaus’ very own palette, just as then in more recent time Bonn’s mayor Daniels I promoted the town as Italy’s most northern one. Indeed also in regard of the light.
“ … the singular which light and clouds were ready to bestow in this moment and imparted to the artist’s soul found their perfection in the evening muse ”
(Hermann Bauer, Eine friedliche Begegnung in der friedlosen Zeit des dreißigjährigen Krieges – Ein böhmischer Maler erlebt den Rhein on Václav Hollar’s journey on the Rhine as companion to count Arundel on occasion of their passing of Rolandseck and Nonnenwerth, in Heimatjahrbuch Kreis Ahrweiler, vol. 1974, pp. 62 ff.).
And so we encounter
Karthaus’ delicate atmospheric light blue in beige
then already with the 350 years earlier Hollar, in his watercolored pen and ink drawing Nonnenwerdt , Rhenus fluvius , Rolandseck of May 9, 1636 Hermann Bauer described. See its unpaginated color reproduction in Miloš V. Kratochvíl, Hollar’s Journey on the Rhine, Prague, Artia, 1965.
His powerful foreground before delicate palette of the set back Seven Mountains yet, beginning with Drachenfels/Wolkenburg with increasing refinement of their rear/lateral heights down to the riverside, has no lesser model than Turner’s Rolandswerth, Nonnenwerth und Drachenfels combining intensity and delicacy (gouache/watercolor of 1817, 19.5 x 30.3 cm as no. 4 of the Tate catalog with illustrations pp. 65 & 99) as regarded by Powell as typical for the group of those works. Seen, by the way, centered, obviously from a boat, so that Nonnenwerth appears close to the bank and the Drachenfels part does not go far beyond the Wolkenburg.
And once in this sphere, with regard to Karthaus the eye for instance also sticks at Johann Martin von Rohden’s light blue-beige-colored sky and the centered hazy heights in the back of his Ruins of Hadrian’s Villa near Rome from about 1796 (Kunsthalle Hamburg 1976 exhibition catalog William Turner und die Landschaft seiner Zeit, color illustration XXVII). By which the wheel comes full circle and we have a painting before us, which is to be beheld and to please for its quality. And reminds of the nonchalance by which at all times is judged in parrot-fashion by names.
For neglected by art history and in such a manner in his merits mostly unrecognized and herd-instinctually unappreciated by the market, too, Karthaus, listed by literature as Berlin landscapist – his grave within the family tomb of councilor of commerce Johann Carl K. (Barmen 1806? – Berlin 1883) on the Old St. Matthew Churchyard in Schöneberg (Berlin), a protected heritage as a synthesis of the arts – stands, too, for Jacob Burckhardt’s résumé per lecture of February 21, 1881 :
“ The hunting for famous names has its considerable downsides anyway; it rather would be more correct
to love the pictures for their beauty .”
And by nature more sarcastically Beethoven :
“ ‘Look, my dear Ries! These are the great connoisseurs who affect to be able to judge of any piece of music so correctly and keenly.
Give them but the name of their favorite ; they need no more’ ”
(Wegeler-Ries, Biographische Notizen über L. v. B., 1838, p. 90, here after Kerst I, 101 f.). – Preceding the pupil Ferdinand Ries himself :
“ … where I frequently had to play in the evening Beethoven’s things, partly from music, partly from memory, before an assembly of tremendous Beethovenians. Here I could convince myself how for most just the name is enough to find everything in a work fine and excellent, or mediocre and bad. One day, tired of playing from memory, I played a march as it just happened to cross my mind, without any further intention. An old countess … went into great raptures over this as she thought it were something new by the same, what I, to make fun of both her and the other enthusiasts, affirmed only to eagerly … When I had to repeat the march (the next day and now in B.’s presence this received) now by all the most extraordinary praise of his genius, which he listened to completely puzzled and full of indignation, until at last this dissolved in a tremendous laughter (and then he said to me, see above). ”
Here then Karthaus’ reverence
for the timelessly enthusing peak
of what is the Rhine’s ,
depending on the direction of the journey entrée or finale.
“ Rolandseck was an idyll on the Rhine in the early 19th century. It was frequently called the ‘Riviera on the Rhine’. The splendid vista on the Rhine, the island Nonnenwerth, and the Seven Mountains made it a first-rate tourist attraction. The globetrotter Alexander von Humboldt had granted the Rhine Valley at this spot the seventh place in his ranking list of the most beautiful landscape views. On the island Nonnenwerth there was a hotel, in which 1841 Franz Liszt lived for several months, who planted a plane there on his 30th birthday which today is the highest and most splendid tree on the island in the Rhine. In Rolandseck many rich families from Cologne had settled down in the 19th century … Also the (former) Hotel Rolandseck-Groyen still stands … (and) has witnessed great days. Illustrious guests have made a halt in the Hotel Rolandseck, among them German emperors William I, Frederick III, and William II … One room in the hotel was even named for chancellor von Bismarck. Also poets and thinkers again and again spent some time at this idyllic spot on the Rhine. The most important among them were Karl Marx and Heinrich Heine. A lively friendship united the family of the hotel owner, Groyen, with the poet Ferdinand Freiligrath ”
(Hermann Josef Fuchs from remarks in the Bonn Generalanzeiger of December 3, 1988).
And in the restaurant of Roland’s Arch itself, then still under the direction of the Böhm family, in recent times chancellor Schröder entertained the American president Clinton.
On the original stretcher frame. – In respect of preservation fine all-round with only hardly impairing slight discoloring in the sky part upper right. In short and with analogous Goethe :
“ Why roam (for great names) ,
the good lies so near .”
This then the locality . — This then the quality .
This then today’s offer :
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