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Early 19th century topographical art fine watercolor drawing possibly Petra, Jordan
For the Orientalist art collector, this is a fine little drawing in pencil and watercolor, 5 1/2" by 8 1/4", (10 1/2" by 14" in its vintage frame), the subject an apparently Middle Eastern scene of classical temples set into a hillside. It has been suggested that this could be the famous Petra, Jordan site of classical antiquity. The work, glued to a sheet with "Ackermann & Co." blindstamped into the right corner, is unsigned. (Ackermann was a supplier of artist supplies during the 19th century in London---google for more information on the firm's history). Written on the reverse in pencil, in German, is "Oriental Landschaft Aquarell v. Unbekantem Kunstler" (Oriental landscape watercolor by unknown artist). There are a few possible hints as to authorship, such as "Dr. G/No. 37" in red on the reverse, and some pencil writing in a reverse corner including the letter "L". The work has survived pretty well for 180 or so years. There are vertical "chains" of rusty spots, in the sky; but I don't believe these flaws detract significantly from the work's pure antiquity and historical interest. Note the picturesquely clad figures, conferring in a relaxed group at left, and the fine, busy, skillfully executed pencil work. I think it pretty likely that this would be by a listed artist but that is difficult to prove at this point. Frame has some corner losses and a little strip of beading is missing. Ask for any more photos you might wish to see---Ruby allows nine images only. .
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Jon Berg, Southern California, CA
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