Grotte mit badenden Nymphen. Um 1855. Oil on cardboard, on panel, mounted on backing cardboard, laminated with canvas. Wichmann 654. Roennefahrt 455. With initials in lower left. 22,2 x 19,3 cm (8,7 x 7,5 in).
Accompanied by an expertise (in copy) from Prof. Uhde-Bernays from 18 August1923 (mounted on verso of the backing cardboard).
PROVENANCE: Private ownership of the Spitzweg family (Otto), given to Richard Spitzweg in 1907. Hugo Helbing, Munich, March 1931, lot 109, plate 8. Hugo Helbing, Munich, May 1939, lot 214, plate 11. Private collection South Germany.
EXHIBITION: Carl Spitzweg, Hugo Helbing, Berlin, February - March 1927, cat. no. 19 (from a Saxonian ownership).
Besides the topic of Biedermeier idyll and its often grumpy figures, Spitzweg was also interested in the mysterious world of gnomes, midgets, and bathing nymphs. This work, which renders hommage to the romantic of grottos, lives on the charming contrast of its colors, the mystic dark of the grotto and the light shining into it from above. Wichmann states in his catalogue raisonné that several imitations of this subject are in circulation, a proof of how popular also this side of Spitzweg's works was. [KD]