Heinrich Theodor Wehle in Hermitage

On 10 June 2008, the State Hermitage Museum opens the exhibition named «In the Wild Kingdom of Nature. The Graphic Work of Heinrich Theodor Wehle from German Museums». The exhibition will represent sixty-three works by the artist Heinrich Theodor Wehle (1778 – 1805). Works are taken from museums in Sorbs, Bautzen, the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, and private collections from Dessau and Erfurt.

Wehle’s drawings can be divided into three stylistic groups: sketches done with pencil and those, which represent the larger part of his work, done in ink, the completed works demonstrating compact lines and carefully developed details which assume that the works will be reproduced as prints, and illustrations executed by brush.

Wehle was the first western European master to have printed (1802-1803) views from the Caucasus, a location which to this day has not come into the general cultural view of the western European public.

Steep cliffs and impregnable, seemingly everlasting mountain ridges with the occasional ruins of a fortress on the peaks, stones in the beds of wild rivers and waterfalls, horsemen and soldiers, travellers in caravans or holiday makers by a cross corroded by wind and rain – all of this is represented in the pictures by the artist, created in the Caucasus.

Had Wehle not died so young, in the first quarter of the XIX century, he would have stood among the great artists such as Zingg and Klengel, Koch and Reinhard, Kaspar David Freidrich and Christian Klausen Dahl. He would have held a worthy place among German, and perhaps even Russian artists, not only as a sketcher but possibly as a painter.

Nonetheless, even the part of the creativity of Heinrich Theodor Wehle which has reached us is a rich, diverse and impressive artistic legacy.

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Published in: on July 3, 2008 at 7:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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