The Graphic Arts Collection is pleased to have acquired a rare sketchbook belonging to the architectural draughtsman Friedrich Wilhelm Kloss (1805-1875). The small volume’s 40 foliated leaves hold 78 drawings, mostly city and landscape views but also a few genre scenes, plant studies, costume sketches, and other fascinating details Kloss recorded around 1828.
Kloss spent most of his life in Berlin in the circle of the architect Friedrich August Stüler (1800-1865) who, with royal patronage, transformed Berlin. Kloss specialized in highly finished topographical and architectural watercolor views. Thanks to this sketchbook, we can now chronicle his time in Rome, which he captured in seventeen architectural views including Vesta Temple; view of St. Peter from the Gianicolo; view of St. Peter with Castel san Angelo and Tiber; Porta dell Popolo; bridge over the Tiber; Forum Romanum; Venus Temple; Concordia Temple; Sant’Onofrio; Temple of Antonio; the lake in Villa Borghese gardens; Villa Pamphili; gardens of Villa Medici; courtyard view of a Roman palace; and several unidentified views. He also visited Tivoli, Venice, Florence, and the ruins in Paestum and Portici.
There are also four pages of autographs, where German artist friends living in Rome recorded their names at the end of Kloss’s sketchbook as a sign of friendship. He notes, “Am latten Abend im Künstlerverein hier Roma, als ich den Künstlern Lebewohl sagte, haben dieselben ein Gleiches gethan und zur Erinnerung ihre Namen hier eingetragen” (on the last evening at the German Artists Society in Rome, when I [i.e. Kloss] said farewell, the artists did the same and in memory of our friendship signed their names).
This is a very early document showing that there was a formal association, a Künstlerverein, of German artists in Rome. A total of seventeen German artists residing in Rome, mostly painters, but also the odd sculptor or etcher, signed their names and some also gave the city of their birth. They are listed here in the order they appear in the sketchbook:
August Hopfgarten – Zur Erinnerung an Rome (i.e. ‘in memory of Rome’) [lived in Rome 1827-32]; J[ohann] Bravo [lived from 1827 in Rome]; G. Baumgarten aus Dresden; Friederich Peller aus Weimar [Rome 1826-31]; Dr. Carl Schunterman; Adolph Loehser; Adolph Kaiser aus Weimar [Rome 1828-30]; H[erman] W[ilhelm] Bissen [Rome 1823-35, sculptor, favourite pupil of Thorvaldsen]; August Riedel aus Bayreuth [Rome March 1828-29, and again from 1832]; Kühne aus Eisleben; August Richter aus Dresden [Rome 1826-30, draughtsman]; [Franz] Nadorp [Rome from Jan. 1828, etcher]; A[nton] Draeger aus Trier [lived in Rome since 1821]; Friedrich Mosbrugger aus Konstanz [Rome Dec. 1827-1829]; Bernhard Neher von Biberach [Rome 1827-31]; Eduard Erhad aus Graudenz in Westpreussen [Rome 1826-30]; Rudolf Freytag zur Erinnerung Rom ’28 [Rome 1825-30, again 1840-43, sculptor]; Joseph Anton Koch Rome [Rome 1795-1812, and 1815-1839], Kloss has written above Koch’s name ‘Ausgezeichneter Landschaftsmaler’ (i.e. ‘excellent landscape painter’), while Koch himself, a notorious womaniser, used the opportunity to greet a lady friend, Louise Oesterreich, from afar in the knowledge that Kloss would report his greetings to her in his native Berlin, he helpfully also furnished her address, ‘Louise Oesterreich, Mauerstra[sse] no. 65, eine Treppe hoch, bitte ich höflich zu grüssen’; [August] W[ilhelm] Schirmer [Rome 1827-31].