Emma Von Boeckh

River Landscape With Cattle & Drover

Emma Von Boeckh

River Landscape With Cattle & Drover

This late 19th-century oil painting by German artist Emma von Boeckh (fl.1877-1895) depicts a stormy landscape with a river, cattle and drover.

Dense clouds partially obscure a late sun, which flickers upon a winding river. Cattle amble through the mud, barely illuminated. Trees merge into silhouettes. This is nature at its most atmospheric, where the elements blend into an immersive symphony of tonal splendour.

The artist, Von Boeckh, was quite remarkable and, at this point in her career, predominantly self-taught. As a young woman, gaining a foothold in the art world was infinitely more challenging than it was for her male contemporaries. As such, it’s possible that she disguised her gender by exhibiting under simply “E von Boeckh”, perhaps to be taken more seriously by chauvinistic critics. In a review published in French artistic and literary journal, La Plume, she was referred to as a man.

During our research, her gender only became apparent after discovering an article in the German magazine, ‘Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst’, which remarks on the female artists currently working in Dresden.

“It would be an injustice to ignore the fact that there are currently a number of female painters living in Dresden whose achievements can easily be seen alongside those of some of their male colleagues.”

“What hard work, energy and perseverance can achieve even within a short period of time could be clearly seen in Emma von Boeckh's landscapes exhibited at Lichtenberg.”

“Her ‘harvest landscape’ in the most blazing sunburn is a study of a power and truth that is rare for a lady and is worthy of all praise because there is not the slightest attempt made here to soften the simple seriousness of the truth…”

This piece from 1877 is the finest example of her work that we’ve located. It’s a beautiful snippet of her abundant skill.

Signed/dated lower right and framed.

Medium: Oil on canvas.
Overall size: 24½” x 17½” / 62cm x 44cm
Year of creation: 1877
Provenance: Private collection, Germany.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Later stretcher. The diagonal lines in the top right are in the paint itself and do not relate to any issues. Frame with some light wear.

Emma Von Boeckh

Emma Von Boeckh

German artist Emma Von Boeckh was primarily known as a landscape painter but also produced animal portraits. She was predominantly self-taught but also worked under ‘Dettmann’, in Horst.

Learn more about Emma Von Boeckh in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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