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AUCTION 22

 

First published view of Fredericksburg, Texas

 

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197.     [FREDERICKSBURG, TEXAS]. LUNGKWITZ, [Karl Friedrich] H[ermann]. Friedrichsburg. [Texas.] [lower left below neat line] N.d. Nat. v. H. Lungkwitz [lower right below neat line] Lith. Anst. v. Rau & Sohn, Dresden. Dresden, ca. 1859. Lithograph on subtly toned maize ground, neat line to neat line: 31.3 x 48.9 cm; image & title: 34.2 x 48.9 cm; overall sheet size: 42.3 x 60.7 cm. Professionally washed and deacidified, light foxing, a few tears (mostly marginal) consolidated, no losses, overall very good copy of one of the rarest and most desirable nineteenth-century Texas lithographs.

     First published view of Fredericksburg, Texas, and among the earliest printed views of any town in Texas. Reps 3968 (first listed view of Fredericksburg). Seth Eastman made earlier sketches of scenes in and around Fredericksburg in 1849, but these were not published, nor did Eastman attempt to show the entire town and environs (see Jack Patrick Maguire, Fredericksburg, Texas: 150 Years of Paintings and Drawings, Fredericksburg: Fredericksburg 150th Anniversary, 1995, pp. 24-32). The present print was created by Hermann Lungkwitz (1813-1891), noted Bavarian artist who immigrated to the Hill Country of Texas in 1851 (Handbook of Texas Online: Karl Friedrich Hermann Lungkwitz): “His Texas studies and landscape paintings—of the Hill Country, old San Antonio and its Spanish missions, and Austin—span four decades and provide unexcelled examples of romantic landscape scenes and visual documentation of nineteenth-century Texas. In addition, two pre-Civil War lithographs (Dr. Ernest Kapp’s Water-Cure, Comal County, Texas and Friedrichsburg, Texas) and one postwar lithograph (San Antonio de Bexar) have been identified.”

     James Patrick McGuire, Hermann Lungkwitz (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983), pp. pp. 20, 183 and entries 218, 219, and 220. Pinckney, Painting in Texas, pp. 86-97 (litho illustrated, Plate 39). Martha Utterback, Early Texas Art in the Witte Museum (San Antonio: Witte Memorial Museum, 1968) 40.

     Steinfeldt, Art for History’s Sake, pp. 154-165 (lithograph illustrated on p. 159):

When Lungkwitz painted his pastoral views of the Texas countryside he fused romanticism with natural realism and, as Jerry Bywaters has pointed out, made the first solid contribution to landscape painting in Texas…. Lungkwitz’s pastoral view of Fredericksburg…clearly shows the influence of the artist’s early training in Dresden…. Lungkwitz sent drawings to Germany to be converted into lithographs, which he hoped to sell. They were advertised in German newspapers in Central Texas and displayed in the larger cities during the late 1850s. Evidently not many copies of this lithograph exist. One family legend maintains that the ship returning with the finished lithographs was caught in a storm and many of the prints were damaged. Another tale alleges that Lungkwitz was not pleased with the final print, feeling that it did not do justice to his original sketches.

     Lungkwitz emigrated with some of his family, including his brother-in-law and fellow artist Richard Petri, to the United States in 1850. After first settling in the east, they eventually moved to Texas in 1851 because of health concerns. After arriving in Texas, Lungkwitz followed a variety of professions, including farmer, rancher, artist, print seller, teacher, and photographer, in the last capacity serving in the General Land Office photographing hundreds of manuscript maps of Texas counties, and with Carl G. von Iwonski, with whom he toured, displaying a magic lantern show. See: Palmquist, Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide, pp. 407-409. During the Civil War, Lungkwitz attempted to maintain a neutral position during the bitter sectional strife that proved tragically fatal to some of his fellow German emigrants at Comfort. He obtained an exemption from conscription and tried to continue his painting.

     Ron Tyler in his preliminary study of nineteenth-century lithographs of Texas discusses this view at length:

Because Texas was a frontier for much of the century, most of the artists whose work resulted in prints never saw the region or visited for only a short time. A few, such as Hermann Lungkwitz, settled in Texas and produced some excellent prints in a futile attempt to earn their living as artists….

Lungkwitz’s pastoral view of Fredericksburg…is an excellent example of the feeling of harmony between man and nature that came out of the European and then American schools of landscape painting, and the later views of farmers and cowboys are evidence of the later nineteenth-century view that man had conquered and subordinated nature.

Other than Americans, Germans were the largest group of newcomers to Texas—more than 7,000 between 1844 and 1847—and the lithographic record of the state owes much to the trained artists and craftsmen among their number who produced drawings and paintings that were lithographed in Germany and who founded, in 1855, the first lithographic printing establishment in the state. Hermann Lungkwitz and Carl G. von Iwonski are, perhaps, the best known of this group, for their landscape and genre scenes constitute a colorful record of life on the Texas frontier….

Lungkwitz’s idyllic view of Fredericksburg is one of the best known images of nineteenth-century Texas. The preliminary drawing was made sometime after 1855, probably in 1858, and sent to the lithographic firm of Rau and Son in Dresden to reproduce. Taken from a perspective on Schneider’s Hill, the picture shows Fredericksburg in the middle ground to the north (left center), with several scenes of the pioneer life in the foreground: shepherd boys and their flocks, a farmer plowing with oxen, and a group of horses grazing in the meadow. The zig-zag, or worm, fence, usually made from cedar or oak, was commonly used by the Texas Germans, and examples of it can be seen throughout the foreground of the print. It is also possible to identify the Society’s community building, the Vereins Kirche, the Zion Lutheran church (built 1854), and the Southern Methodist church (built 1855).

When the print was finished and shipped to Texas, probably in the late summer or fall of 1859, the editor of the Neu-Braunfelser Zeitung announced that, “A lithograph of Fredericksburg and vicinity is on display at the drug store of Koester and Tolle; it is a copy of the beautiful original painting by the artist Lungkwitz and is unquestionably the best of the current Texas landscape art.” Despite the editor’s remark about the print being made from a painting, only a preliminary drawing is known. Perhaps the painting was never returned from Europe.

($10,000-20,000)

Sold. Hammer: $12,000.00; Price Realized: $14,400.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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