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Monday 15 May 2017

Johann Daniel Heimlich’s etching, “Landscape with a draftsman in front of a waterfall”, c.1775

Johann Daniel Heimlich (aka Johann Eleazar Schenau; Jean-Daniel Heimlich) (1740–96)

(Note that Jacques Baquol and Paul Ristelhuber (1865) in “Alsace old and modern or Dictionary topographical, historical and statistical of Haut and Bas Rhin”, p. 538, propose that Johann Daniel Heimlich and the engraver Johann Eleazar Schenau are the same person, but this idea seems to have drifted out of favour [see François Lotz, 1994, “Artists Alsatian painters born before 1800”, p. 70].)

“Landscape with a draftsman in front of a waterfall”, c.1775

Etching on laid paper trimmed along the image borderline but retaining the text box.
Size: (sheet) 13.5 x 9.6 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline; (left) “D. Heimlich fecit.”; (right) “No. 6”
Condition: excellent impression trimmed along the image borderline and in a very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this small etching from the rare genre of landscapes in the 18th century featuring an artist drawing directly from nature, for [deleted] including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this strong image of a draughtsman at work en plein air (i.e. outdoors), please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print is no longer available

Heimlich was an insightful artist and I can tell this from just one detail: how he represents the top edge of a waterfall. What I mean by this seeming trivial aspect of drawing a waterfall is that the depth of the flow of water is traditionally shown by the size of the gap of white paper at the very edge where the water cascades over the rock face: the deeper the stream the larger the gap of white paper left untouched by line.

Of course there is more to a good artist than the way that they draw the lip of a waterfall. Note for instance that Heimlich understands that the weight, mass and solid structure of rock is implied by giving emphasis to horizontals and ensuring that the critical angles in the silhouette edges of rock are repeated—visually echoed—throughout the rock mass.

If I may point out one further signpost of his skill as a draughtsman: how he represents the foliage mass of trees. Great artists leave room in the foliage for the birds to fly through.

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