Summer Pastorale (View of Kallenfels)

Worthington Whittredge (American, 1820-1910)

Currently on View in K213
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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.

Curatorial Summary

Worthington Whittredge, as he called himself beginning in 1860, 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. From 1845, he devoted himself to landscapes. Through the efforts of wealthy Cincinnati art patron Nicholas Longworth, Whittredge was able to study for five years in Düsseldorf, Germany, at a time when Düsseldorf was nearing its peak as an art center. There, he studied with several teachers who encouraged him to base his landscapes on accurate outdoor sketches. He then spent five years in Rome before returning to the United States in 1859.

Summer Pastorale derives from studies made in the Harz Mountains of Central Germany. The painting is probably a compilation of two views recorded in sketches and skillfully joined in the final picture 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 evokes the atmosphere of a summer day to perfection. 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.


Janson, Anthony F. Worthington Whittredge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Whittredge, Worthington. The Autobiography of Worthington Whittredge 1820- 1910. Edited by John I.H. Baur. New York: Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn Museum, 1942. The artist’s quote is on page 26.

(Mrs. Buchner W. Anderson, Cincinnati, Ohio); Paul North Jr.; Purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1954.

Object Information

Worthington Whittredge (American, 1820-1910)
creation date
oil on canvas
38-3/4 x 32-3/8 in. (unframed)
50-1/8 x 43-7/8 x 4-3/4 in. (framed)
mark descriptions
Signed and dated in brown paint at lower left: J.W. Whitridge [sic] | 1854
accession number
credit line
Daniel P. Erwin Fund
Public Domain
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945

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