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Lot 3206* - A206 19th Century Paintings - Friday, 22. September 2023, 04.00 PM


(Innsbruck 1838–1902 Neuilly-sur-Seine)
Il Molo, Venice.
Oil on canvas.
Signed lower left: FRUnterberger.
82.5 × 70.5 cm.

Prof. Dr Sybille Moser-Ernst, 18.7.2023.

- Sale Christie's, New York, 25.10.1996, Lot 82.
- Important private collection located outside Europe.

The painting by Austrian artist Franz Richard Unterberger offered here can be dated to his late creative period around 1900, and depicts one of the artist’s most appreciated subjects. It shows a lively waterfront promenade on the Venetian island of Giudecca, affording a view of the world-famous panorama to both the strollers depicted and the viewer. With his typical light brushstrokes, Unterberger skilfully captures the location, which he became familiar with on his numerous trips to Italy from the 1870s. Along the broad promenade, flanked by typical Venetian residential architecture on the right and the open water on the left, the viewer’s gaze wanders across the populated Molo into the interior of the picture. There rises the mighty main dome of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, as well as the Campanile di San Marco as unmistakable landmarks of Venice. The colourful accents masterfully applied by Unterberger with an impasto brushstroke, such as the red umbrella of the woman in the foreground of the picture, enliven the scene and convey the cheerful hustle and bustle of Venetian life under the midday sun.

A stylistic analysis of this work points toward the conclusion that the final version was not yet fully executed. One can detect the presence of another hand in a few isolated areas which seems to have contributed to the present appearance of the painting. At the same time, Unterberger’s painterly skill is fully present in this work. By skilfully alternating between painterly precision and fleeting allusion, Unterberger is able to create a lively tension while stimulating the viewer’s imagination, thus demonstrating an artistic quality that is only rarely encountered in late 19th-century salon painting. The Austrian captures the mood of picturesque Venice and the shimmering air of the Mediterranean summer on canvas like few other artists of his time.

CHF 50 000 / 70 000 | (€ 51 550 / 72 160)

Sold for CHF 91 250 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.