VILHELM PETERSEN

1812 Copenhagen 1880

View of Lake Garda

oil on paper over preliminary pencil sketch, laid down to cardboard. 20.5 x 31.5 cm.

provenance:
most likely the artist's family until the 21st century

This serene lake view by Petersen relates very well to several oil sketches , all smaller, presently at the Metropolitan Museum, gifted to it and the Morgan Library by Eugene Thaw in 2009. Despite the fact that the Thaw oil sketches depict lake or river views in a different country, the atmosphere is the same, likely a result of the artist's temperment which led him to select similar days for working en plein air in both places. But they are all from 1850 as well. Unfortunately, not much has been written of which I am aware about this evocative artist. He travelled to Rome where there was a Danish colony of painters and from them might well have learned about plein air painting. These were some of the painters whose talents and achievements are celebrated as the Danish Golden Age. Like many of them, Petersen is known for his landscape paintings; his work can be found in the Statens Museum fur Kunst in Copenhagen.

Petersen was in Italy from 1850-52. Thus we can date this lovely oil sketch to those years.

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge conserves an oil on paper dated 1857.1 Galerie Jean-Francois Heim exhibited a good number of such oil sketches by Petersen at its Paris Galerie and Maastricht in 2002. These were said to have been purchased from the the artist's family by that same date.

In catalaguing the Thaw oil sketches Ann Hoenigswald,2 discusses Petersen's technique and compares it to that of Alexandre Calame. I'm not sure why as Danish painters like Eckersberg and Hansen were likely far more influential.

1

Wikipedia.

2

Manipulating Paint: The Shorthand of Plein-Air Technique." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection, Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 19.