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Artist:     Friedrich Wilhelm Theodor Heyser (1857 - 1921)
Title:     " The Forest Elf ", important German mythological painting
Item ID   2875
Price:     price on request


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Monumental and extra rare mythological painting with a beautiful forest elf ( original German title of the artist: "Waldelf" ) was executed in 1883 -1884 by famous German genre, historical and portrait painter Friedrich Wilhelm Theodor Heyser (1857 Gnoien - 1921 Dresden).

This painting was exhibited at the two important Great Berlin Art Exhibitions in 1884 and 1901 (on the reverse - original exhibition labels). There are many illustrations of this painting in different literature and graphic prints after this work.. One of them ,(etching by Rudolf Schuster, published in Berlin in the end of 19th century) you can see on our additional photos. Our painting is listed in the most important German monography "Paintings of 19th century" by Friedrich von Boetticher in the list of Heysers paintings under No. 1.

About the title of painting : an elf is a being of German mythology. The elves were originally thought of as a race of divine beings, endowed with magical powers which they use both for the benefit and the injury of mankind. In medieval Norse mythology, they appear to have been divided into light elves and dark elves. In early modern and modern folklore, they become associated with the fairies of Romance folklore and assume a diminutive size, often living mainly in forests but also underground in hills or rocks, or in wells and springs. 19th-century ROMANTICISM attempted to restore them to full stature, making them men and women of great beauty, often depicted as very young. From their depiction in Romanticism, elves entered the 20th-century high fantasy genre in the wake of the published work of J.R.R.Tolkien. The "Christmas elves" of contemporary popular culture were popularized during the 1870s in the USA, in publications such as Godey`s Lady`s Book.

About the painter : Friedrich Wilhelm Theodor Heyser (1857-1921), portrait and historical painter , studied 1880-1883 at the Academy in Dresden as pupil of L.Pohle and later in Karlsruhe under F.Keller. Lived short time in Paris 1890, where he visited Academy Julian and later worked and lived in Berlin, Bad Harzburg and Dresden. Created portraits of poets, musicians, composers, painters and noble personalities of the time. (For exemple Prince Albrecht of Brunswick, Prince Albrecht of Prussia, Prince and Prinsess Johann Georg of Saxony). This portraits were situated in the museums: Dresden,New City Hall and Dresden Painting Gallery ; City Museum of Braunschweig as well as in German and Russian noble estates. He executed also genre and historical paintings with reference to German seals and poems after Goethe, Freiligrath, 1901 Heyser won the competition for the execution of two murals at the Gewandhaus in Bautzen an award of the academical senate. In the last years of his life, he also brought some views of Island Fohr in Friesland. He has exhibited in Berlin, Chemnitz, Dresden, Hamburg and Munich.

Provenance: Private German estate in Baden Baden (the painting was situated by the owners family last 70 years). The documentary evidence of the provenance and old expertise of a Berlin gallery attached to the painting.

Exhibitions: This painting was exhibited in two Great Berlin Art Exhibition 1884 and 1901.

Literature: "General Artist´s Lexicon " by Thieme/Becker, Leipzig, 1999, Friedrich von Boetticher "Malerwerke von 19.Jahrhunderts",Leipzig, 1892, page 530, no. 1.

Inscription: signed lower left, on the reverse - original labels of Great Berlin exhbition ,1884, old inscription in German on the reverse of stretcher: "Great Berlin Art exhibition 1901" .

Technique: oil on canvas. Luxuriousy original period gold-plated frame.

Measurements: unframed w 31 1/2 " x h 58 1/4 " (80 x 148 cm), framed w 43 2/3" x h 70 1/2 " (111 x 179 cm )

Condition: in perfect condition, no inpaintings or losses, original canvas..

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