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Vilhelm Petersen, 'Oetzthal', 1850

Key facts
Full title Oetzthal
Artist Vilhelm Petersen
Artist dates 1812 - 1880
Date made 1850
Medium and support Pencil and oil on paper laid down on canvas
Dimensions 19.7 × 35.7 cm
Inscription summary Inscribed
Acquisition credit Presented by Peter Hecht in memory of Erika Langmuir, 2016
Inventory number NG6662
Location Room 42
Collection Main Collection
Vilhelm Petersen

This small oil sketch of Oetzthal, a mountain valley in the Austrian Alps, was painted by the Danish landscape artist, Vilhelm Petersen, when he was travelling to Italy in the summer of 1850. Close to the Italian border, the area is the site of some of Austria’s highest mountains. We are most likely looking south towards Italy, perhaps from a vantage point near the town of Oetz.

The sketch, which is painted on paper and was subsequently mounted on canvas, was almost certainly made quickly on the spot. In the foreground, Petersen has swiftly indicated the outlines of the nearest mountains and fir trees with pencil and washes of underpaint. He used subtle tones of lavender and a pale blue-grey for the far mountains to create an effect of distance and summer haze. As it is summer, there is only a little snow, which Petersen has painted with thin streaks of brilliant white.

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