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Robert Zünd - Between Realism and Idealization

   

Robert Zünd - Das Säen, ohne Jahr
Öl auf Leinwand
40 x 62,8 cm

Robert Zünd - Das Säen, unknown
oil on canvas
40 x 62,4 cm

Robert Zünd - Die Ernte, unknown
oil on canvas
40 x 62,8 cm

 

Robert Zünd (1827-1909) is known for his atmospheric and sunlit landscape paintings. He crafted rural scenes or landscapes that were exempt from industrialization or technologisation, as in the pieces presented here “Das Säen” and “Die Ernte”.
In “Das Säen” a majestic and beautifully elaborated tree and a sowing farmer take up the middle of the painting. They are positioned opposite of each other and divide the landscape into two sides. The left side seems to be wild and untouched versus the right side, that is occupied by a cultivated landscape. But Zünd depicted this confrontation completely harmoniously, these worlds seem to merge in harmony. In his composition he chose not to contrast but to unite these two different landscapes. 
A similar composition can be found in “Die Ernte”. Here the farmers and human activities are dispersed throughout the landscape, but again a small path divides the painting into two halves. Accross from each other are a group of farmers and a group of trees. Again Zünd translates this idealized rural lifestyle - living in harmony with nature - into a visual composition.
Zünds sunlit, fertile and heavenly landscapes seem to reflect his world view and his concept of art. His landscapes both strive for realism and idealism an observation that was also made by swiss author Gottfried Keller, who once visited Zünd in his studio and described his works as follows: “ideal real landscape or real ideal landscape” (Which is a very rought translation of the actually beautiful sentence: “Ideale Reallandschaft oder reale Ideallandschaft”).

Robert Zünd - Das Säen, ohne Jahr
Öl auf Leinwand
40 x 62,8 cm

Robert Zünd - Die Ernte, ohne Jahr
Öl auf Leinwand
40 x 62,8 cm

About artist
Robert Zünd
Luzern, 1827 — 1909

Robert Zünd (3.5.1827, Lucerne - 15.1.1909, Lucerne) is one of the most important landscape painters in Europe in the 19th century. His first encounter with art was in the studio of Jakob Schwegler (1793-1866), who gave him drawing and painting lessons. The Nidwalden painter Joseph Zelger advised him to move to Geneva in 1848, where Zünd made the acquaintance of the well-known Swiss painters François Diday and Alexandre Calame and was also taught by them. In 1852 Zünd traveled to Paris and found new sources of inspiration in works by Dutch and French masters of the 17th century. About ten years later, Zünd retreated to the outskirts of Lucerne, where he lived until his death in 1909. 
Zünd's artistic work is characterized by a particular closeness to nature and a detailed, extremely naturalistic painting style. He paid particular attention to the principles of classical composition. The artist is known for his atmospheric and light-flooded landscape paintings. His motifs often include rural scenes or landscapes, but they are characterized by the absence of any signs of industrialization or technologization.