(Aalborg 1809 - 1862 Hellerup)
Albech’s Children Sleeping, 1828
Pen and gray ink, gray wash over pencil, on paper, 14,6 x 18,5 cm
Inscribed and dated lower right Albechs Born / d. 9 April Kl 9 af / 1828
Benjamin Wolff (1790-1866), bearing his collector’s mark (Lugt 420, dry stamp lower left).
Frederik Sødring entered the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1825 to train under Jens Peter Møller (1783-1854). It was Johan Christian Claussen Dahl (1788-1852), however, who was to influence his work most profoundly. The two painters met in Norway in 1833. The first public showing of Sødring’s work was at the Palais Charlottenburg in 1828, where he exhibited two paintings. Both were copies after Dahl. Sødring owed his awareness of the painterly qualities of natural light to the influence of Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, then a professor at the Academy and committed to a radical reform of teaching methods. Sødring’s friend and fellow painter, Christen Købke (1810-48), with whom he later shared a studio, also had a formative influence on his work. An important mark of their friendship is Købke’s fine portrait of Sødring dating from the year 1832.1 In the late 1830s, Sødring is known to have spent some four years in Germany. Like many of his Danish colleagues, he visited Munich and made sketching excursions into the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. He also made a number of trips to the Rhine region.2
The present pencil and wash sketch was made on April 9, 1828. It depicts the two young sons of his friend Albech who have fallen asleep over their bedside reading – an informal domestic vignette captured with freshness and sensitivity. It testifies to Sødring’s particular penchant as a draftsman and painter for rapid, spontaneous notation and quiet observation of the world around him.
1 Christen Købke, The Painter Frederik Sødring, 1832, oil on canvas, 42.2 x 37.9 cm, Copenhagen, Den Hirschsprungske Samling, inv. no. 309.
2 For biographical details, see Lilian Vestergaard, ‘Landskabsmaleren Frederik Sødring’, in Kunstmuseets Årsskrift 1977-1980, Copenhagen 1981, p. 68.- Im Lichte Caspar David Friedrichs. Frühe Freilichtmalerei in Dänemark und Norddeutschland, exhib. cat., Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle 2000, pp. 206-9.