Privatbesitz, Süddeutschland.


Johann Adam Klein came to Vienna for the second time with his childhood friend Johann Christoph Erhard in 1816. There he dedicated himself primarily to oil painting and was immediately successful with his works. He was noticed by none other than the Austrian Chancellor, Prince Clemens von Metternich, who sent him to the Koptschan (Kopcsan) stud farm in Hungary, which is closely linked to Lipizzaner breeding, to paint pedigree horses. The following year, Klein processed the studies he took there on site into several oil paintings. After that, animal portraits became a part of Klein’s constant repertoire, in which the depiction of dogs played an important role. He had already etched his first depictions of dogs during his early days in Nuremberg and continued this activity during his stations in Vienna and, after his return from Rome, also in Nuremberg. Before Klein went to Rome in 1819 (see also lot XX), he had been in Munich – as he writes in his autobiography – since the beginning of October 1818 and stayed there “since I liked Munich […] over the winter. I also enjoyed seeing my friend Adam, with whom I spent a few hours almost every day.” This refers to Albrecht Adam, who had lived in Munich since 1807 and was not only an exhaustive portrayer of the Napoleonic Wars, but also a gifted animal painter. His portraits of stately horses in particular established his reputation, and – himself an enthusiastic rider and owner of horses – he often found the opportunity to study horses and other animals in the Adamei, located near the Theresienwiese. One can well imagine that Klein was impressed by Adam’s detailed, yet characterful horse portraits – and he was able to draw on these experiences when he finally settled in Munich in 1838 after the death of his wife. This portrait of a black dog, possibly a Rhodesian Ridgeback, was created only a little later – in 1841. Keenly observing, but slightly hesitant, she roams – one paw raised and waiting to run – through a sandy landscape overgrown with broad-leaved plants. The precision with which Klein observes the dog is on a par with Adam’s works and justifies referring to this painting as a portrait of the dog, even if she is unknown to us. This is also evident in the fact that Klein depicts the dog with the greatest painterly meticulousness, while he captures the plants rather summarily. The dog emerges from the picture with an almost tactile quality, in such a way that one can only imagine it as a work commissioned by a proud owner wanting to create a memorial to their loyal companion. This is the same dog that Klein depicted in a painting entitled “The Best Friends” that was auctioned by Karl & Faber in 2009 (December 4, 2009, lot 247). With such paintings in Munich, Klein had proven himself to be an excellent animal painter, and it may not be a coincidence that the celebrations that the Munich artists’ community organized for his 70th birthday in 1862 were under the direction of the animal painter Friedrich Voltz. Dr. Peter Prange

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