Caspar David Friedrich Sketchbook to Remain in Germany?

Caspar David Friedrich Sketchbook to Remain in Germany Because of Berlin's Senate Department for Culture Nomination for Protected Status.

Dec 5, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Caspar David Friedrich
The Karlsruhe Sketchbook. Photo by Christian Hagemann via Grisebach.


Caspar David Friedrich sketchbook sold at the Grisebach auction house for $1.9 million. But the sketchbook appeared submitted for legal protection prior to the sale. With this the piece will have a status of the nationally significant cultural resource, as requested by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture. If approved, the process would stop it from leaving the nation.


First Caspar David Friedrich Sketchbook to Sell

The Grisebach auction house. Via Michael Georg Pauliks


The contemporary and friend of Friedrich, Georg Friedrich Kersting, owned the piece for more than two centuries. Overall, approximately seven by four inches sketchbook consists of 20 woven scraps of paper with 33 pages of sepia-colored pencil illustrations. The German Romantic artist inscribed individual pages. Also, this is artists’s first sketchbook which came on sale.


He also created around 20 pieces of this kind, but only six survived. The piece was on display in Berlin, Zurich, and New York before to the an estate sale. Daniel von Schacky, an auctioneer, sold the notebook for more than its $1.58 million top estimation. It went to an anonymous bidder. But, it remains uncertain if the purchaser will be able to take the item out of Germany.


The Karlsruhe Sketchbook (1804). Photo by Christian Hagemann via Grisebach.


Only once the Department of Culture finishes its legal actions, the results will be known. This is based on whether or not it’s considered a noteworthy cultural asset. When Caspar David Friedrich passed away in 1840, his stature diminished. Overall, he passed away in poverty.

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Celebrating the Artist

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich, 1817, via Hamburg Kunsthalle.


The “Germany Century Exhibition” held in Berlin’s National Gallery in 1906 started a comeback for his stature. This exhibition included 93 artworks by this German Romantic artist. Probably the most well-known work of art he produced is Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818). Currently, The Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg has the piece.


Many consider the artists to as one of Germany’s most well-known artists and a modernist pioneer. Friedrich’s birthdate is 250 years from now, and various German museums are honouring the artist with review meetings. This includes “Art for a New Age” at the Hamburger Kunsthalle and “Infinite Landscapes” at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.


Untitled by Michelle Han, 2017, via ArtStation, with Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich, 1817, via Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg


Caspar David Friedrich was a German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his allegorical landscapes, which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins.
















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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.