Klassiskt & Asiatiskt
To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale: Classic & Asian 9-11 December 2020
Lot 463 Christian Ezdorf (Germany 1801‑1851). A Panoramic view of Prague. Signed with monogram and dated CE 1821. Gouache on paper, 75 x 245 cm.
800.000 – 1.000.000 SEK
€ 78.000 – 98.000
A Swedish Private Collection.
In a unique panorama of Prague, German-born Christian Ezdorf has rendered the city and its life a sunny day in 1821. The meticulous details in this wide and impressive panoramic view makes this a picture to study closely and plunge into – a spectacular document of a former time.
The painter must have found his viewing point in one of the tall buildings at the southern shore of the Vltava river. Possibly the view is seen from the Old Town Water Tower (Staromestska vodarna) at the place called Novotny Footbridge (Novetneho lavka). The Old Town Bridge Tower (Staroměstská mostecká věž) takes a central role in the composition as well as the famous Charles Bridge, Karlův most. The Prague Castle with the Saint Vitus Cathedral is seen beyond on the small hill, in the Hradčany district. The Charles Bridge is a medieval bridge, as Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV laid its first stone in 1357. The bridge was the only way to cross the river until 1841 and therefore an important connection between the Prague castle and the Old town on the other side. It was also important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe.
The painter has captured the topography of the city, but also its inhabitants. The bridge, decorated with baroque statues is full of life; a parade is seen, numerous horse carriages, people strolling and having conversations. This magnificent panorama is a caption of a moment in time and a significant document of the city in the year of 1821. Prague has always been an important city with a long and rich history. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors. It also served as a central city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the 19th century, almost half of the population were Germans.
Christian Ezdorf was born in 1801 in Pößneck in Saxe-Meiningen, one of the Saxon duchies in the southwest of present-day Germany. After his studies at the Academy in Munich he began painting landscapes inspired by Dutch landscape painters such as Jacob van Ruisdael and Allaert van Everdingen. He was part of an artistic exchange between Prague and Munich in the early years of the 1820’s as mentioned in Karel Vladislav Zap’s: “Wegweiser durch Prag : ein nothwendiges Handbuch für Fremde, die sich mit den Merkwürdigkeiten der böhmischen Hauptstadt bekannt zu machen wünschen”, 1848, p. 303.
In 1821 he travelled to the North of Europe to visit Sweden, Norway and Iceland. He became an acclaimed painter and exhibited his paintings of the Nordic landscapes at the Royal Academy in Stockholm at several occasions. In 1831 he was elected an honorary member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He left Sweden in 1846, and spent his last years in Great Britain and in Munich.
The artists oeuvre contains of mostly small landscape pictures, four of them are included in the collection of the National museum in Stockholm, one at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and one at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. Ezdorf’s landscape paintings often show dramatic nature and weather conditions, many depicting the intriguing landscapes in Scandinavia.
A comparable painting, a large panorama dated 1823 of Stockholm seen from Mosebacke on Södermalm, is known (89 x 230 cm). It was sold at auction in 1989 (Bukowskis Auktioner, Stockholm, 31 October 1989, lot 267) and tripled its estimation. The Prague panorama in this sale from a Swedish private collection gives a unique opportunity to acquire a rare and extraordinary painting by Ezdorf, never before offered at auction.