As a disciple of Johan Christian Dahl, Thomas Fearnley was particularly attentive to the role of light in his nature studies, and this sunset rendered at Sorrento on May 22, 1834 attests to his outstanding mastery of its effects. After Fearnley’s premature death at the age of thirty-nine, Dahl wrote of his plein-air sketches that they were "better than his finished paintings, for in them he gave of his true self, as he was and as he felt when face-to-face with nature."
Inscription: Initialed, inscribed, and dated (lower right): TF Sorrento D. 22/5 '34
the artist (until d. 1842); his son, Hofjaegermester Thomas Fearnley, Oslo (1842–d. 1927); his son, Thomas Fearnley, Norway (1927–d. 1961); Fearnley family, Norway (1961–2006; sold to Day & Faber); [Day & Faber, London, 2006; sold to Thaw]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (2006–9)
Oslo. Kunstnerforbundet. "Thomas Fearnley," 1966, no. 89 (as "Sorrento Skisse").
London. Day & Faber. "Wanderlust: Oil Sketches by Thomas Fearnley," December 1–14, 2006, no. 4 (as "Sunset, Sorrento").
New York. Morgan Library & Museum. "Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection," January 23–August 30, 2009, unnum. checklist (as "Sunset Sorrento").
Wanderlust: Oil Sketches by Thomas Fearnley. Exh. brochure, Day & Faber. London, 2006, unpaginated, no. 4, ill. (color), provides provenance; states that the artist's primary aim was to quickly capture fleeting atmospheric effects.
Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 121, no. 59, ill. (color), calls it "Sunset, Sorrento" and dates it 1833–34.