Caspar Wolf


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(1735–83). Swiss painter and draughtsman. Wolf was one of the first landscape painters to study Alpine scenery closely. His dramatic compositions combine topography with a profound observation of nature, infused with a sense of grandeur which anticipates the work of later Romantic landscape artists. After training with Jakob Anton von Lenz in Konstanz, Wolf worked 1753–9 in Augsburg, Munich, and Passau, before returning to his birthplace of Muri in 1760. Although he came to specialize in landscapes of mountainous scenery, he also painted altarpieces, wallpapers, and stoves. The Legend of S. Benedict, part of a decorative scheme in Schloss Horben, is an example of his early work. By 1768 Wolf was in Basle and then he travelled to Paris to spend two years in the studio of de Loutherbourg. For the remainder of his career, Wolf was to work mainly for a Lucerne collector, J. A. F. Balthasar, and a Berne publisher, Abraham Wagner, producing increasingly Romantic Alpine landscapes from pencil and oil sketches, made from nature. The paintings for Abraham Wagner were reproduced as prints under the title Merkwürdigen Prospekte aus den Schweizer Gebirge (1777–8).

From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Art.

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