Johann Joachim Faber (German, Hamburg 1778–1846 Hamburg)
Oil on paper, laid down on cardboard
8 1/8 x 13 1/4 in. (20.6 x 33.7 cm)
Thaw Collection, Jointly Owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Eugene V. Thaw, 2009
On view at The Met Breuer on Floor 3
At the time this sketch was painted, Olevano Romano, a hill town east of Rome, was associated with the German artist Joseph Anton Koch and his followers, Faber among them. The town sustained a thriving community of artists from all over Europe, however, making it a cosmopolitan destination despite its rustic setting. Characteristic of sketches by German artists, a portion of this composition remains distinctly unfinished.
Inscription: Inscribed (lower left, in black chalk): Olevano, d. 15 October 25
[La Tâche Fine Art S. A., Vaduz]; Eugene V. Thaw, New York (until 2009)
New York. Morgan Library & Museum. "Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection," January 23–August 30, 2009, unnum. checklist (as "View of Olevano").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible," March 18–September 4, 2016, unnumbered cat. (colorpl. 97).
Ann Hoenigswald. "Manipulating Paint: The Shorthand of Plein-Air Technique." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 17, suggests that the artist executed the painting with multiple levels of finish deliberately, to produce a cross-section for pedagogical reasons.
Esther Bell. "Catalogue Raisonné of the Thaw Collection." Studying Nature: Oil Sketches from the Thaw Collection. Ed. Jennifer Tonkovich. New York, 2011, p. 120, no. 57, ill. (color), calls it "Landscape at Olevano".
Asher Ethan Miller inUnfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. New York, 2016, p. 288, colorpl. 97, states that, in leaving this picture unfinished, Faber privileged the fragmentary over the whole, as is characteristic of German Romantic landscape sketches; notes that the blank portion is actually painted in a neutral tone.
The same view was painted on September 10, 1822 by Faber's friend Heinrich Reinhold (see 2009.400.97). For that sketch, now in the Hamburger Kunsthalle (23.314), see Carmen Winkler in "Heinrich Reinhold (1788–1825), Italienische Landschaften: Zeichnungen, Aquarelle, Ölskizzen, Gemälde," exh. cat., Gera, 1988, p. 78, no. 180, ill p. 264.