|ANTON ROMAKO (1832 Atzgersdorf near Vienna–1889 Vienna)
Datable c. 1856, Oil on canvas, height: 61 cm, width: 83.5 cm
Signed bottom left: “A. Romako”
|Anton Romako definitely ranks among the most fascinating representatives of nineteenth-century Austrian painting. Spanish Landscape is one of the works that mark the beginning of his career. After studying at Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts, Romako completed his training in Carl Werner’s (1808–1894) watercolor master studio in Venice. He then visited Spain in 1856, which made a deep impression on him. His sketchbook of this journey is considered to have been lost in World War II. It comprised motifs of Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Granada, and other places, which he probably drew on for his paintings. The present Spanish Landscape is very close to the hitherto only known landscape painting from this visit to Spain, which shows a view of the Alhambra in Granada. Probably rendering a scenery near Granada, it clearly enriches the body of the artist’s few works that can be dated to this period by an achievement characteristic of his early oeuvre in its execution and atmospheric gist..
An expertise by Dr. Cornelia Reiter, author of the catalogue raisonée of Anton Romako’s works, from July 2010 is included.
The painting has been cleaned and is framed.
Anton Romako, who was born in Atzgersdorf near Vienna on October 20, 1832 and died in Vienna on March 8, 1889, was an Austrian painter of the nineteenth century. After studying at Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts and a meteoric career as a popular genre painter in Rome, where he was a member of leading artistic circles and catered to an international clientele for twenty years (1857–1876), he struggled in vain for recognition on his return to Vienna in 1876. He spent the years 1882 to 1884 in Geneva, trying to establish himself in French-speaking Switzerland. Thanks to his international patrons (including Karl Graf Kuefstein and Henry Francis Lord Makins), he also had contact to the big art centers of Paris and London. Romako confined himself by and large to the classical genres of history painting, landscape, portraiture, and genre scenes, but his painting was revolutionary both in execution and in the complexity of its content and actually anticipates the currents that would eventually culminate in Austrian Expressionism. Oskar Kokoschka’s portraits, in particular, show an indebtedness to Romako, thus underscoring the latter’s importance as one of Austria’s most influential painters of the nineteenth century. In an international context, too, Romako must surely count as one of the most forward-looking artists of the century, who during his lifetime had works on show in numerous art exhibitions all over Europe (including the Paris World’s Fair of 1867) and was receptive to the latest developments in painting, especially those coming out of France. (extract from the expertise by Dr. Cornelia Reiter)
Cornelia Reiter, Anton Romako (1832–1889). Pionier und Außenseiter der Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts. Monografie mit Werkverzeichnis, ed. Agnes Husslein-Arco, Belvedere Vienna (Weitra, Verlag Bibliothek der Provinz, 2010), 117.