The Dutch breeding ground was reflected most fortunately in landscape painting, where Dutch art became the stepping stone to the new realism. Since the 17th century a number of Dutch-trained landscapists, like Christoph Ludwig Agricola (1665-1724), Joachim Franz Beich (1665-1748) and others, had provided a tradition in the sense of the Dutch Italianate trend.

The younger artists, of whom we are about to speak, did not look for their examples in this group. Let us ignore the very weak talent of Magnus Prasch or Brasch (1731-1787), who was trained by Peter Jacob Horemans in Munich and who made incredibly bad hunting paintings [i], and begin the line of the younger generation with Ferdinand Kobell, who, although he was active in Munich only since 1794, deserves to be mentioned first.

Magnus Prasch  
Resting huntsman in a forest landscape (1750 - 1787)
oil paint / canvas, 31 x 40 cm
lower right :  M. BRASCH
Vienna (Dorotheum), 1993-03-09, no. 181

Ferdinand Kobell (1740-1799)205 came from Mannheim, where he visited the Academy and soon won the special privilege ‘to qualify for studying Nature in his Highness’s cabinets of paintings through the elaboration of the cabinet paintings there’.206 These ‘cabinet paintings’ were Dutch landscapes and even when it is awkwardly expressed in the chancellery phrasing of the time, one sees and hears clearly why those little Dutch paintings were considered useful. In 1768 he went to Johann Georg Wille in Paris, whose teaching was based on the same principles. As a landscapist in the service of Mannheim he painted many Dutch conceived, decorative paintings over the next years. Jan Both, Nicolaes Berchem and Jan Wijnants are essentially his examples [i][i][i][i].207 He also received commissions to make paintings ‘as a substitute for the Dutch masters’.208

Ferdinand Kobell  
Mountain landscape with waterfall dated 1779
oil paint / canvas, 107 x 141,5 cm
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, no. 1111

When he came to Munich, he described the Tegernsee thus: ‘the whole area consists of some Ruisdael, some Wagner and endless Waterloo’. He recommended his son to go to Pasing, ‘where Wouwerman cottages are’.209 Although he saw nature with the eyes of the Dutch masters, he did not render it schematically; in this he is decidedly superior to the Schütz family.

Ferdinand Kobell  
Return of the herd dated 1774
oil paint / canvas, 106 x 97 cm
lower center :  F: Kobell 1774
Private collection

Ferdinand Kobell  
Departure of the herd dated 1775
oil paint / canvas, 106 x 97 cm
F. Kobell 1775
Private collection

Ferdinand Kobell  
Winter landscape with two horsemen dated 1777
oil paint / panel, 15 x 19,8 cm
lower right :  F Kobel 1777
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, no. 1111

His younger brother Franz Kobell is first and foremost a bold draughtsman, who didn’t seek his examples from the Dutch masters though. For our study Wilhelm von Kobell (1766-1855) is the most interesting artist.210 He too grew up with the Dutch landscape paintings in Mannheim, that would help him to find a style [i]. In those days he made many aquatint sheets after Nicolaes Berchem, Jan Both, Dirk van Bergen, Johannes Lingelbach, Willem Romeyn, Johann Heinrich Roos, Adriaen van de Velde, Philips Wouwerman [i] and others. His own pictures lie midway between Adriaen van de Velde [i],211 Johann Heinrich Roos and Willem Romeyn.

Wilhelm von Kobell  
A shepherdess with cows and a goat in a ford in a brook dated 1798
oil paint / canvas, 140,5 x 124 cm
lower left :  Wilhelm Kobell 1798
Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Kassel (Hessen)

Wilhelm von Kobell  
Resting travellers near a forest dated 1791
oil paint / panel, 44,5 x 36,5 cm
lower left :  W. Kobell, 1791
Zürich (Koller), 2008-09-19, no. 3066

Wilhelm von Kobell   after Philips Wouwerman  
Departure for a ride dated 1792
aquatint / paper, 295 x 320 mm
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, Munich, no. 29438 D

That didn’t change much when he settled in Munich in 1793, where he had again several assignments for aquatint sheets after Dutch landscapes. In his own watercolours he very soon liberated himself from the Dutch example.212 In the paintings he produced after 1800 he held himself not so much to the Italianate Dutch artists, but to Paulus Potter [i][i], Jacob van Ruisdael and Allart van Everdingen.213 The first two provided him with access to simple, realistically captured nature, which can be seen in his late pictures. By that time he had lost completely the sunny and atmospheric aspect of Dutch painting, especially that of the Both-Berchem group.

His last battle scenes are of a brittle, almost dry factuality, although not altogether without atmosphere [i]. We look in vain for the painterly melee and the gunsmoke of Wouwerman’s skirmishes. That he made a significant effort to study nature, is made clear by the series of late animal etchings, which were based on meticulous drawings. Nowadays it seems odd to us, that the artist of those days had to take a detour over the Dutch masters to arrive at a simple, almost arid realistic landscape. The careers of the Kobells also demonstrate very well, that the road from Nicolaes Berchem and Jan Both, the most popular artists in the 18th century, led to Jacob van Ruisdael and Paulus Potter, before ‘Nature itself’ was reached.

Wilhelm von Kobell  
Shepherd with herd in a hilly landscape dated 1800
oil paint / canvas, 98 x 118 cm
Neue Galerie (Kassel), Kassel (Hessen)

Wilhelm von Kobell  
Two cows lying in a meadow c. 1800-1808
oil paint / panel, 23,5 x 23 cm
private collection  Hubert Lamey, Donaueschingen

Wilhelm von Kobell  
The siege of Kosel dated 1808
oil paint / canvas, 202 x 305 cm
lower right :  Wilhelm Kobell 1808
on the back : 
Neue Pinakothek, Munich, no. 3822

Johann Georg Dillis (1759-1841) formed his style under the direction of the brothers Kobell [i][i][i].214 It seems to have been easier for him to abandon the Dutch scheme and to face the Bavarian mountain landscape independently.

Johann Georg von Dillis  
Water mill at Ohlstadt probably around 1820
oil paint / canvas, 47,5 x 52,5 cm
lower left :  G. v. D.
Neue Pinakothek, Munich, no. 14424

Johann Georg von Dillis   after Jan Asselijn  
Shepherd with herd at a ruin in 1792
aquarel paint (watercolor) / paper, ? x ? mm
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, Munich, no. 32283

Johann Georg von Dillis   after Meindert Hobbema  
Wooded landscape with two farmhouses dated 1837
oil paint / canvas, 34,5 x 42,5 cm
on the stretcher :  1837
Private collection

Carl Kuntz (1770-1830) and Max Joseph Wagenbauer (1774/5-1825) began directly with Paulus Potter. Carl Kuntz from Baden never really got away from this example [i][i],215 Wagenbauer however developed a Bavarian genre picture from it, which has its own appeal [i].216 Apart from animal pieces [i][i][i] he created some panorama landscapes, that resembled good and strong Dutch models, such as Guillam Du Bois and Philips Koninck [i][i].

Max Josef Wagenbauer  
Cows in the meadow dated 1826
oil paint / canvas, 18,5 x 23 cm
lower right :  MJ Wagenbaur / 1826
Alte Nationalgalerie (Berlijn), Berlin, no. W.S. 250

Max Josef Wagenbauer  
View of Lake Starnberg before 1807
oil paint / canvas, 73,5 x 81 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich, no. 4920

Max Josef Wagenbauer  
View of the valley of the Isar at Ebenhausen between 1812-1814
oil paint / panel, 50,7 x 63 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich, no. 9156

Carl Kuntz  
Shepherd wth cattle on the Gottesauer bridge, Karlsruhe in the distance dated 1813
oil paint / panel, 50 x 69 cm
lower right :  Carl Kuntz fecit / 1813
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Neurenberg, no. GM Gm 1959

Carl Kuntz  
Landscape with cattle and a shepherd dated 1821
oil paint / panel (oak), 41,5 x 51,5 cm
lower center :  C. Kuntz fec. 1821
Nationalgalerie (Berlijn), Berlin, no. A I 802 a

Max Josef Wagenbauer  
Resting herdsman with cattle and a horse on a hill top dated 1816
oil paint / copper, 32,5 x 42,53 cm
lower center :  M.J. Wagenbauer 1816
München (Sotheby's), 1991-12-10, no. 18

Max Josef Wagenbauer  
Landscape with a cow rubbing against a beech c. 1820-1824
oil paint / copper, 36 x 43,2 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich, no. 10890

As in Mannheim, also in Munich, the Electoral collection played a certain role in the education of young artists. The above-mentioned Johann Jacob Dorner was director of the gallery for some years. He strove to put the paintings into order and hang them according to his idea of quality: at the top the never dethroned Rafael, followed by Balthasar Denner, Albrecht Dürer and Abraham Mignon! In this way it went up and down from Rubens and Van Dyck to Nicolaes Veerendael, from Nicholas Poussin to Caspar Netscher and further to Murillo. Johann Georg Dillis, who knew a bit more about the desires of the museum public, arranged the artworks according to painting schools. Johann Christian von Mannlich (17141-1822), who had a great influence on visual artists, acquired in 1803 a Paulus Potter from Kassel [i], which by the way had already been copied there by Wilhelm Tischbein,217 in exchange for a Mater Dolorosa by the then highly esteemed Jusepe Ribera [i]. With this action he brought to Munich what the young landscapists needed.218

Paulus Potter  
Peasant family with cattle dated 1646
oil paint / panel, 37,1 x 29,5 cm
upper left :  paulus potter fe. 1646.
Alte Pinakothek, Munich, no. 565

Jusepe de Ribera  
Mater Dolorosa 1638
oil paint / canvas, 76,5 x 63,5 cm
Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Kassel (Hessen), no. GK 590

The next generation, born in the 1780s and 1790s, hardly needed the old Dutch masters. Peter von Hess (1792-1871) and Albrecht Adam (1786-1862) belong to this generation.219 In the absence of another teacher, Von Hess seems to have formed himself after the Dutch genre painters and Albrecht Adam trained himself in copying paintings by Philips Wouwerman [i][i][i]. However, both artists succeeded in the transition to the real genre painting à la mode and healthy naturalism; no trace of Wouwermans can be seen in their pictures anymore [i].

Peter von Hess  
A farmstead plundered by Cossacks dated 1820
oil paint / panel (oak), 38,5 x 34,4 cm
lower left :  PHess 1820.
Alte Nationalgalerie (Berlijn), Berlin, no. W.S. 84

Albrecht Adam  
A mottled horse at a ford in a river dated 1829
oil paint / panel, 34 x 46 cm
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich, no. WAF 9

Peter von Hess   after Philips Wouwerman  
Winter landscape with skaters and a horse-drawn sled dated 1842
oil paint / canvas, 32 x 41,2 cm
lower left :  P. Hess. / Nach / Ph. Wouwermans. / 42-
Vienna (Dorotheum), 2000-03-30, no. 429

Peter von Hess  
Resting Italian farmers with cattle in a landscape dated 1831
oil paint / panel, 34,5 x 44,5 cm
lower right : 
München (Sotheby's), 1995-12-05, no. 60


205 [Gerson 1942/1983] See for the following: Lessing 1923, with illustrations of some of the paintings mentioned here and P.F. Schmidt in Thieme/Becker 1907-1950, vol. 21 (1927), p. 54. [Van Leeuwen 2018] On F. Kobell: Biedermann 1973.

206 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson quotes Lessing 1923, p. 9.

207 [Gerson 1942/1983] Lessing 1923, ill. 12-14, 16. On Ferdinand Kobell and Dutch painting of the 17th century: Biedermann 1973, p. 32-35.

208 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson quotes Lessing 1923, p. 25: ‘The taste of the collectors appreciated such paintings, which were very popular as a substitute for the real Dutch masters of the 17th century’ (in translation).

209 [Van Leeuwen 2018] About the last quote: Biedermann 1973, p. 32.

210 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Wilhelm von Kobell: Wichmann et al. 1970.

211 [Gerson 1942/1983] The Ford of 1798 (Kassel) is still in the taste of Adriaen van de Velde (Lessing 1923, ill. 44).

212 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On the watercolours of Wilhelm von Kobell: Valter/Rieger 2006.

213 [Gerson 1942/1983] Two cows (collection Lamey; Lessing 1923, p. 178, no. 19: ‘made between 1800 and 1808’; Biermann 1914, ill. 928) like a follower of Potter. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson probably mixed up the oeuvres of Wilhelm and Ferdinand Kobell: there is really no trace in Wilhelm’s work of Jacob van Ruisdael and Allard van Everdingen, except maybe in his early drawings (Wichmann et al. 1970, p. 5). For Ferdinand Kobell, on the other hand, Ruisdael was an important model (e.g. RKDimages 290874).

214 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Dillis: Heilmann/Hardtwig et al. 1991, Hardtwig et al. 2003. Contrary to Gerson’s remark, It is clear that Dillis studied Dutch art also later in his career, see RKDimages 281236 (after Hobbema) and RKDimages 291228 (after Ruisdael).

215 [Gerson 1942/1983] Jacob 1927. [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Kuntz: Benedict 1981.

216 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Wagenbauer: Heine 1972.

217 [Van Leeuwen 2018] See § 2.2.

218 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Oldenbourg 1922, vol. 1, p. 61-62. Potter’s painting formed an inspiration for several artists. When Max Joseph Wagenbauer painted an artwork influenced by it in 1805, it was so much appreciated by the then Prince-Elector Maximilian I Josef of Bavaria that the prince urged Wagenbauer to go on in the same direction, which he did (Kraan 2002, p. 95).

219 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Adam: Holland 1915.