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# 43083

Nikolaus Lauer "Prussian General Field Marshal Alexander von Knobelsdorff", important pastel!, 1797/99

11000  EUR
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 11000 USD

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This portrait, executed in the late 1790s by pastelist Nikolaus Lauer who was working in Berlin at that time was acquired on 20th September 2011 at Christie's South Kensington / London (lot 339). It is the second known life portrait (for the first one see our image nr.20) of Prussian soldier of Friedrich the Great epoch, General-Field-Marshal Alexander Friedrich von Knobelsdorff.
Moreover, in 1799 it was reproduced in mezzotint by engraver Carl Schröder (see our image nr.17).

Alexander Friedrich von Knobelsdorff was born in 1723 in Cunow (Kunow) Prussia, attended secondary school in Berlin and in 1737 became a page of the wife of Crown Prince Friedrich. In 1740, when the latter became King Friedrich II, he grew to be his chamber-page. His military career began in the following (1741) year. At first a private-corporal in Dragoons Regiment No.6, by the time of Seven Years' War, he was already a "Stabskapitän" (Prussian military rank corresponding to that between a 1st lieutenant and major) and in 1758 was promoted to major.
In 1776 he (then already a colonel) took over the command of Infantry Regiment No.27. He spent the last 25 years of his life in this regiment's garrison town Stendal, filling his past time with hunting, playing cards and cultivating his charming garden.
By 1787 he was already a commander of 3rd Division and had taken part in Dutch Campaign. From 1793 he was in charge of the corps counting 12,5 battalions and 15 squadrons on the Lower Rhein. He was promoted to Lieutenant-General and won high praise from his King, who sometime later raised him in rank of General-Field-Marshal. He was a frequent guest at the King's Palace. In the autumn of 1799, shortly before his death, he commanded maneuvers in Potsdam. On December 10th 1799 in Stendal he passed away after suffering a stroke.
We would like to add that Alexander von Knobelsdorff was a year-long Loge Master of Stendal masonic lodge. Our additional images nr.18-19 offer his extensive biography.

Nikolaus Lauer (1753 St. Wendel, Saarland - 1824) completed his initial training in Trier (and not in Mannheim, as Neil Jeffares writes) and then worked in St. Wendel (situated ca 50 km form Trier) until 1786. 1786 he married a daughter of a merchant and moved to Blieskastel where he was taken up by Karl III August Christian Pfalzgraf von Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken. Appointed court artist in 1791 he continued to work in Homburg and Zweibrücken until 1794. Following the German forces retreat from Napoleon, he moved to Leipzig and Dresden (1794-1797) where he copied pastels by Mengs and Liotard, and to Berlin (1797-1806) where he did his best known work, among them the numerous images of Queen Luise and her husband Friedrich Wilhelm III which he even advertised in the newspaper "Berlin" in 1799. Chodowiecki drew Anton Graff's attention to the portrait of Luise: "Das ähnliche Bild ist von Lauer aber in seiner harten und steiffen Manier". He returned to St. Wendel in 1806 and remained there until his death.

Provenance:
1.) property of family von Knobelsdorff for over 200 years
2.) Christie's South Kensington, London, 20th September 2011, lot 339

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Condition: good; in original late-18th-century frame

Creation Year: 1797/99

Measurements: UNFRAMED:71,0x50,0cm/28,0x19,7in FRAMED: 80,5x59,5cm/31,7x23,4in

Object Type: Framed pastel

Style: Old Master drawings

Technique: pastel on vellum, mounted on stretcher by the artist

Inscription: verso: old label with legend; various other labels

Creator: Nikolaus Lauer
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!

Creator Dates: 1753 St. Wendel-1824

Nationality: German


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