Lot 47
Beneš Knüpfer (1844 - 1910) PLAYING WITH DOLPHINS

76 x 134 cm (h x w)

Starting price
240 000 CZK
   |   8 889 €
Price realized
430 000 CZK
   |   15 926 €
price without premium
Beneš Knüpfer first launched his art career at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, moving on to the Academy in Munich to study historical painting under Karl von Piloty in 1870. Nine years later he went on a study trip to Rome and remained there, never returning to his native country. It is remarkable that unlike the flood of young foreign artists who came to study in Italy, it was not Classicist or Renaissance art that most visibly influenced Knüpfer's art. What is reflected most in Knüpfer's paintings is the sea, highly romanticized with figures of Naiads, Sirens, dolphins, Tritons and other mythological beings. These themes and his large landscape formats became typical features of the artist's work. The popularity of his work can be seen in the fact that Emperor Franz Joseph I purchased his painting of dueling Tritons in 1892. Paradoxically, the artist's work was not fully appreciated in his native Bohemia during his lifetime, where many viewed his work as misconstrued exoticism. The sea remained closely associated with Knüpfer's life – and death. In November 1910 the artist decided to end his life by jumping off a steamship into the open sea. The work on auction here is a typical example of Knüpfer's work. A nearly identical motif (only in mirror image) was published in a posthumous monograph by Karel B. Mádl titled Beneš Knüpfer, jeho pětapadesát obrazů (Beneš Knüpfer: His fifty-five paintings), fig. 46. Oil on canvas, signed “B. Knüpfer” on bottom right.