Caspar David Friedrich: Moonwatchers

September 11–November 11, 2001

Two Men Contemplating the Moon: Third Version

The third version of Friedrich's painting was acquired by the Metropolitan last year. Its provenance can be traced to its original owner. Friedrich had given drawing lessons to the daughter of Dr. Otto Friedrich Rosenberg, his physician. In lieu of a fee, the artist—ailing and financially strapped—gave the doctor this supposed last version of Two Men Contemplating the Moon (ca. 1830). In the painting, Friedrich reinstated two male figures, repeated a lighter sky, and painted with a fluidity and assurance that is not present in the two earlier versions. (Recent infra-red examination has established that there was no under-drawing guiding the artist's hand.)