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Lost drawing by Caspar David Friedrich resurfaces at Sotheby's in London
Friedrich worked up seven drawings of varying size and detail from an ink sketch he made on the beach at Vitt on the island of Rügen on Germany’s Baltic coast on 22 June 1801. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- A lost drawing by German artist Caspar David Friedrich known only from an archive photograph has resurfaced on the international market for the first time since circa 1900. On 20 November 2013 Sotheby's London will present the drawing as a major highlight of the 19th Century European Paintings auction. Blick auf Arkona, Rügen (View towards Arkona, Rügen) comes to sale with an estimate of £200,000-300,000 and has remained in the family of the present owners for over a century.

Commenting on its re-emergence, Tessa Kostrzewa, Director, Sotheby’s 19th Century European Paintings Department, said: “It is always tremendously exciting to handle works by Friedrich, the father of German Romantic painting, especially when one is dealing with a rediscovered work believed to have been lost. The composition, and its symbolism, was clearly very meaningful to the young Friedrich, as he repeated it several times. The isle of Rügen had a hold on his imagination, becoming the subject of one of his most famous paintings of all, of strollers overlooking the sea from the island’s chalk cliffs.”

Friedrich worked up seven drawings of varying size and detail from an ink sketch he made on the beach at Vitt on the island of Rügen on Germany’s Baltic coast on 22 June 1801. This drawing in the series was produced circa 1803 and depicts a view looking north towards Kap Arkona, the island’s north cape.

A watercolour showing Prinz Wilhelm and Marianne von Hessen-Homburg’s apartment in the Berliner Stadtschloss, made shortly after their wedding in 1804, clearly shows four drawings of Rügen by Friedrich adorning their bedroom. Judging by the size of the room it appears that the drawings were approximately the same size as the drawing in Sotheby’s sale. Although not conclusive, View towards Arkona might be one of the four that hung in the Stadtschloss until Prinz Wilhelm’s death in 1851.

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