1791 - Dessau - 1859
Click images to toggle info
Landscape in Holstein ca. 1813/14
black chalk on greenish-grey laid paper; 187 x 285 mm (7 3/8 x 11 1/4 inches)
annotated by the artist d. 25. Sept. and (in a different hand) 10; the drawing also shows various numbers (probably meant to indicate colors)
the verso depicts reed-thatched roofs of a village with trees in the distance as well as (turned sideways) a landscape with shrubs and a wall, annotated 1. Haselnuss 2. Wilder Holunder 3. Buchen (1. hazel-bush 2. wild elder 3. beech)
The number “10” that follows the artist’s annotation of the date has traditionally been read as the date 10. In that year, Olivier made a trip through the Harz mountains in central Germany. It is now believed, however, that this number was added by a different hand. The reed-thatched roofs of the houses on the drawing’s verso do not fit into the Harz region. They are more typical of Germany’s northern province of Holstein. In 1813–14 the artist served as a rifleman in the Lützowsche Freikorps during the Napoleonic Wars and was deployed in Belgium, Mecklenburg, and Holstein. Therefore the sheet likely dates from Olivier’s service during this campaign.
In his still valid 1938 monograph on the brothers Ferdinand, Heinrich, and Friedrich Olivier, Ludwig Grote writes that the drawings from Friedrich Olivier’s military service count among his earliest surviving works. He characterizes them as “tender pencil vedutefrom Holstein and the town of Liège; they are notes rather than artistically developed works.” This could also be said about this sheet as well, an attempt to objectively render a section of nature as if it were drawn with a draftmna’s camera lucida.
(C.G. Boerner offered another such early drawing depicting a landscape in Holstein in our Neue Lagerliste 99 in 1992 under no. 65.)