Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Thomas Worthington Whittredge (American, 1820-1910)
    Sunrise, View of Drachenfels from Rolandseck, circa 1850
    Oil on canvas
    26-1/4 x 38-1/4 inches (66.7 x 97.2 cm)
    Signed lower right: TW Whittredge

    Sotheby's, New York, March 13, 2002, lot 17;
    Fred Bentley, Marietta, Georgia;
    [With]Johnson Hall Fine Art, Roswell, Georgia;
    Private collection, Alpharetta, Georgia, acquired from the above, 2004.

    According to renowned Whittredge scholar Anthony F. Janson, in a letter dated June 23, 2004, a copy of which accompanies this lot:

    "...[Sunrise, View of Drachenfels from Rolandseck] bears a rather complicated relationship to several other canvases of Drachenfels by Whittredge, all evidently painted between 1849 and about 1850. The earliest one, called Castle of Drachenfels (Fight below the Battlements) and dated 1849, is a large, handsome piece formerly in the collection of Dr. Bernard Shulman of Cleveland that was sold at auction about a decade ago. It was, in fact, the first major landscape Whittredge painted after settling in Dusseldorf. A smaller version surfaced in the 1980s. Another subject, called View of Drachenfels from Rolandseck (formerly Victor Spark, New York), is signed and dated 1850. Your the larger version of the Spark painting and must date from the same year...Rolandseck is now called Oberwinter, so that is no longer found by the same name on contemporary maps. It is located about a mile from Drachenfels on the opposite side of the Rhine, some nine miles from Bonn.

    "The contrast in the treatment between the two subjects is striking. The combat scene is a darkly romantic work in the manner of George Friedrich Lessing, the leader of the Dusseldorf School, while [the present work] is close to his 'mentor' (from whom he hardly ever took lessons) Andreas Achenbach and, particularly, Johannes Schirmer, Lessing's student who was to become the leading landscape painter in Dusseldorf, then in Karlsruhe, and who by 1852-3 had emerged as the strongest influence on Whittredge. I should mention that until our artist returned to the United States in 1859, he signed himself 'T.W. Whitridge [sic],' as seen here.

    "Why the difference in approach? Partly it is because Whittredge, as he himself admitted, never took to measuring things by height. All his best mountainous scenes are horizontal compositions in which mountains play a minor role in the far distance. Partly it was simply a matter of temperament. Whittredge was a contemplative artist who never cared for splashy compositions or effects. The quiet mood seen in [this] wonderful canvas is very much in keeping with his personality until the end of his life. This fact explains why it is the more satisfying of these two major works.

    "I regard [the present work] as Whittredge's masterpiece from his early years in Germany. Only the two versions of Landscape in the Harz Mountains from 1853 (High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Detroit Institute of Arts) are arguably better, but by then the artist has converted wholly to Schirmer's style. (Ironically, the scene was drawn during a sketching trip with Lessing.) Unlike the combat scene, it shows a complete mastery of the Dusseldorf style and all that it stood for. [Sunrise, View of Drachenfels from Rolandseck] truly is one of the half-dozen or so greatest works by Whittredge from his European sojourn."

    More information about Worthington Whittredge, also known as Whittredge, Thomas Worthington, Whittredge, T. Worthington, Worthington Whittredge.

    Condition Report*: Relined canvas; under UV inspection – one large area, approximately 6 x 1-1/2 inches, of in-paint to the center left, slightly above the mountains, possibly repairing a previous tear; two approximate 3 inch circular areas of in-paint to the work, one in the center of the canvas, one along the center right edge; long, thin lines of in-paint to the craquelure throughout the canvas, most notably along the lower ¼ of the work; a few smaller spots of in paint throughout the right half of the sky; craquelure noticeable throughout the work in raking light.
    Framed Dimensions 37 X 49 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2020
    1st Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,104

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Jul 1, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 5 days left to consign to the 2021 December 2 Ethnographic Art American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art Signature® Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I knew I could count on you.
    Marc E.,
    Berlin, Germany
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search