Auction House

Auction: 19th Century Paintings

19. October 2016, 5:00 pm

Object overview


Theodor von Hörmann

(Imst/Tirol 1840 - 1895 Graz)

„A sunny afternoon at Quai du Louvre in Paris“
c. 1888
oil on canvas
90 × 125.6 cm
signed lower right: Theod. Hoermann


private property, Europe


Theodor von Hörmann. Von Paris zur Secession, Leopold Museum Vienna, 29th of April - 29th of August 2016


Marianne Hussl-Hörmann/Hans-Peter Wipplinger (Hg.), Theodor von Hörmann. Von Paris zur Secession, exhibition catalogue, Leopold Museum, Vienna 2016, p. 54-57

The painting will be included in the addendum of the catalogue raisonné of Theodor von Hörmann by Dr. Marianne Hussl-Hörmann under entry I.295-E.

Estimate: € 300.000 - 400.000
Auction is closed.

The painting "A sunny afternoon at the Quai du Louvre in Paris" by Theodor von Hörmann is a fascinating new discovery on the art market. It just recently reappeared as part of a European collection during the artist's first great retrospective in Vienna, at the Leopold Museum 2016. The subject of the painting was known from a smaller but lost study (fig. 1). The prominent view of the city of Paris and the large canvas suggest that the painting was made on commission.
The painting was finished in Paris around 1888 and was signed with the French version of the name. It is one of the very few examples of these very important three years Hörmann spent in France between 1887 and 1889. This period marks a decisive point in Hörmanns career who started as a self-taught painter of a strict realism and turned into Austria’s first Impressionist. Later he should also become the founding father of the Vienna Secession.
Paris offered Hörmann the opportunity to see works of the Impressionism for the first time, which was still at the beginning of ist international success. In exhibitions of the famous Galerie Georges Petit Impressionism was regularly on display, even a first retrospective of Claude Monet whose new conception of light and colour strongly influenced Hörmanns work. He likewise took his easel to the Jardin de Tuileries, to the building site of the might Eiffel Tower and to the colourful flower markets to capture the mood of the moment, spontaneously and immediately. One sunny afternoon he also sat on Quai du Louvre and enjoyed the busy, colourful streets and the wonderful view of Pont Neuf and the Ȋle de la Cité with the towers of Notre-Dame.
The unusual combination of detailed description and finest coloured, most intensely illuminated observations mark this painting as an impressive document of a new vision of painting on the edge of Modernity. Even ist subject was modern: a snapshot of an everyday moment of the city. From a slightly elevated level the painter observed the scene, directly and very spontaneously as if seen through the lens of a camera. This is suggested by the figure of a man cut off at the edge and the railings that slow the viewer's gaze as it moves into the picture. Hörmann is using a similar composition to that of Gustav Caillebotte (1848 - 1894), who also preferred an elevated point of view and purposely blended close-up views with accentuated perspectives.
The many narrative details – playing children, elegant ladies, noisily passing carriages – also allow associations with paintings by French artist Jean Béraud (fig. 2), a very popular painter and chronicler of life in Paris. Hörmann only softens the strong lines of this Salon Realism, bathing the entire picture in light and steam. Each colour is divided in a variety of tones and dense brushstrokes, quite similar to the technique of the early Monet or Camille Pissaro, because in doing so, the most intense possible result of colour was achieved (fig. 3).
With the painting "A sunny afternoon at the Quai du Louvre in Paris", Theodor von Hörmann created a timeless impression and aligned himself with the international avant-garde, but he also uniquely documented the beauty and the very special ambience of Paris. (MHH)