The piece was owned by Mrs. Buchner W. Anderson in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was purchased by Paul North Jr. in 1954. Purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1954.
The dark, brooding tone is typical of Whittredge's German work.
Summer Pastorale is probably a compilation of two views of Kallenfels recorded in sketches.
In 1849 Whittredge traveled to Düsseldorf, Germany and spent time painting in the Harz Mountains.
Worthington Whittredge in Germany
Worthington Whittredge, as he called himself after 1855, was born on a farm in Springfield, Ohio. He moved to Cincinnati in 1837, worked with his brother-in-law as a house painter, and taught himself to paint portraits and landscapes. He experimented with daguerreotypes in Indianapolis, opened a portrait studio in Charlestown, West Virginia, and then returned to Cincinnati. Beginning in 1843, he devoted himself to landscape painting. Through the efforts of wealthy Cincinnati art patron Nicholas Longworth, Whittredge was able to study for five years in Düsseldorf, Germany, a major European art center at this time. He never officially enrolled at the Düsseldorf Academy; however, he studied with several teachers, who encouraged him to base his landscapes on plein-air sketches.
Summer Pastorale derives from studies made in Central Germany. The painting is probably a compilation of two views recorded in sketches and skillfully joined in the final composition by the band of trees at mid-canvas. It was painted for E. J. Mathews of Cincinnati in the style of Whittredge’s teacher Johann Schirmer, the leader of the Düsseldorf landscape school. Noteworthy is the play of light throughout the landscape, which captures the atmosphere of a summer day. Whittredge recalled, “My summers were spent in Westphalia, in the Harz Mountains or in the more immediate neighborhood of Düsseldorf.” Much of the work Whittredge sent back to Cincinnati contained motifs from these travels, especially his trips to the Harz Mountains in late summer 1852, or the dramatic landscape near Kallenfels in the Nahe Valley.
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