This is sensational find in Vienna: original watercolour of one of most famous Russian watercolour painters from the first half of 19th Century Karl Hampeln (1794 Moscow -1880 Vienna). It depicts a Russian rushing troika-droshky with an officer as passenger.
Based on the details of the biography of the artist and the physiognomic comparison with other portraits, we can confidently assume that the author placed on this watercolor as a passenger the famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov, whom he can know personally during his life and work in St.Petersburg and Moscow from 1817 to late 1840s.
As it is known, Hampeln was a deaf-mute artist and upon arrival in St. Petersburg in 1817 was under the tutelage and lived for many years in the family of the famous statesman, historian and artist Alexei Nikolaevich Olenin (1763-1843). Olenin’s house and his literary and art salon was visited by famous poets, artists, actors and composers and other representatives of the artistic intelligentsia of the time, including Pushkin, Kiprensky, Krylov, Zhukovsky, Vyazemsky, Glinka.
The author of our watercolour Karl Hampeln ( in Russian: Карл Гампельн) was born in Moscow in 1794, (some sources erroneously point to 1808, simultaneously indicating that already since 1817 (that is, at the age of 9 years) he worked as a teacher, graduating from the academy). He was born in Moscow, but was brought up in Vienna - in an educational institution for deaf-mutes.Thanks to the kind attitude of the director of the school May, Hampeln entered the number of students of the Vienna Academy of Arts. During the Vienna Congress of 1815 he was introduced to the Emperor Alexander I, who paid for further training by Hampeln. In the spring of 1817, Hampeln left for Russia, on June 14 he came to Moscow, and on June 21 his whole family was already in Petersburg. Hampeln handed Empress Maria Feodorovna a letter of recommendation from Vienna, which asked Aleksey Nikolaevich Olenin to identify the artist somewhere to work. And a month later he was received at the Deaf-mute College, where he worked as a teacher of drawing and engraving until 1821. He himself being deaf, signed his paintings with a full surname or a complex monogram, but always with the addition in French: "Sourd-muet", and sometimes simply "Sourd-muet" without a name and surname. Our work signed by the artist „Hampeln sourd-muet“ also.
A. N. Olenin played an important role in the fate of Hampeln: for example, from Olenin´s letter to the capital´s political master, Gorgoli, it follows that the brothers Karl and Egor Hampeln who came to Petersburg not only lived in Olenin´s house, but also were in his care. October 13, 1817 Olenin wrote to Moscow the artist´s uncle, EF Ritter, that the Hampelns live in his house and "behave respectfully this time." In 1825, in a letter to N.M. Longinov, Olenin wrote that the brothers Hampeln had found in his house a "quiet haven." The author of our watercolour Carl Hampeln could meet with the largest representatives of literature, visual arts, the theater, he opened collections of paintings and drawings, archaeological collections and book editions, which filled the house of A.N. Olenin.
During the investigation of the Decembrists these acquaintances connected with the house of Olenin and the Konovnitsyn family played a role in the further fate of the artist who portrayed their portraits. In archival materials, there is evidence of the care of A.N Olenin in January 1826 about the receipt of the Gapel document, "sufficient for his living in St. Petersburg." Apparently, the personality of Hampeln attracted the attention of the authorities, as a result he had to change his place of residence, he moved to Moscow, where he was warmly received by the public.
After Hampeln left a lot of drawings that are in the collections of SS Botkin, Count D. Tolstoy and others.
From Russia, Hampeln moved to London, and his last years lived in Vienna, where he died in the 1880s.
Became known KK Gampeln thanks to his numerous portraits. Among them are the images of the Count N.P. Sheremetev, N.A. Korsakov, S.L. Pushkin, Count P.P. Konovnicyna-Elder and his son Konovnicyna, P.L. Schilling, K.J. Bulgakov, Count af Langeron, S.D. Lvov and others, performed in various techniques. He left his works also the memory of those or other events in the life of the Russian society and its citizens: "The laying of the Moskvoretsky bridge in Moscow " (1830), "Merchant´s Lunch " (1834), "Opening in the village of Tarutino Monument in honor of the victory in the Patriotic War 1812 of the Year "(1834), " Scenes from the life of serfs ´ actresses "(1840-1850-s). From the paintings of the artist, written in oil, it is necessary to name "Scene from the Patriotic War of 1812 " and "The seller of gypsum figurines in St. Petersburg ".
Literature: Artist´s Lexicons by Thieme/Becker (Leipzig, 1999) and other European lexicons; on-line Wikipedia ; in Russian: Solovjev "Russian painters of 18th-20th cwnturies", 2005; Kondakoff "Aniverssary book of the St. Petersburg Academy 1764-1914"; Russian on-line with rich images.
Inscription: signed lower left: „ Hampeln sourd-muet (in English: deaf).
Technique: watercolour on paper. Original period Classicist frame.
Measurements: unframed w 10 3/8" x h 8 1/8" (26,2 x 20,5 cm), framed w 11 1/4" x h 9 1/8" (28,7 x 23 cm)
Condition: in very good original condition.