Alexandre Calame – sold

Alexandre Calame
(Vevey, Switzerland 1810 - 1864 Menton)

Rocks in a Riverbed at Rosenlaui, Switzerland, c. 1862

Oil on canvas, laid down on cardboard, 41 x 55 cm

Amélie Calame (1815-1907), Geneva, the artist’s widow, 1865;
Arthur Calame, Geneva (1843-1919), the artist’s son, 1907;
Marguerite Buscarlet-Calame, Geneva, 1919;
Louis Buscarlet, Geneva, 1924;
Lucerne, Galerie Fischer, auction sale, May 20, 1999, lot 2260;
Private collection, England;
Asbjørn Lunde (1927-2017), New York, inv. 530.

Zeichnen, Malen, Formen I. Die Grundlagen, Schweizerische Landesausstellung (ed.), Zurich, Kunsthaus, 1939, no. 580;
Alpine Views. Alexandre Calame and the Swiss Landscape, Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006, no. 20;
Alpine Views. Alexandre Calame and the Swiss Landscape, Storrs, The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, 2007;
Den ville natur. Sveitisk og norsk romantikk. Malerier fra Asbjorn Lundes samling, New York, Tromsø, Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum and Bergen Billedgalleri, 2007-8, p. 89, no. 19;
Forests, Rocks, Torrents: Norwegian and Swiss Landscapes from the Lunde Collection, London, National Gallery, 2011, no. 44;
Sublime North: Romantic Painters Discover Norway. Paintings from the Collection of Asbjørn Lunde, Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, September 2017 - January 2018.

Alfred Schreiber-Favre, Alexandre Calame, peintre paysagiste, graveur et lithographe: Ouvrage illustré d'un portrait de l'artiste et de 75 planches en héliogravure, dont 4 en héliochromie et 8 en bichromie, Geneva 1934, p. 50, no. 33, repr. p. 33;
Germaine Guillaume, ‘Avant l’impressionnisme en Suisse. Alexandre Calame, 1810-1864’, in Prométhée, l'amour de l'art, Paris, October-November 1939, p. 235;
Valentina Anker, Alexandre Calame: Vie et oeuvre, catalogue raisonné, Fribourg 1987, p. 453, no. 781.


Alexandre Calame’s final visit to the Alps was to Rosenlaui in the Bernese Oberland in summer 1862. The small village of Rosenlaui lies at the foot of the Wetterhorn in the Rosenlaui Gorge. The present oil study was executed en plein-air and worked up later in the studio. It is one of a group of studies and sketches after similar motifs. Calame was especially interested in depicting the play of light and shadow and identifying the constant shifts in tone and color when sunlight illuminated the rough surfaces of rocks and boulders. Here, they lie as they had fallen, filling the dry bed of a mountain stream. Calame’s depictions of massive, undisturbed blocks of rock such as these hold a special fascination. This lies in his compellingly accurate rendering of their striking shapes and the glare of light on their surfaces. The luxuriant growth of a large mountain pine depicted in contre-jour at the right adds a scenic element, while in the background, diagonally opposed to it, is the outline of a ridge densely carpeted with fir.


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