Grande canal, Venise signed 'FRUnterberger' (lower left); inscribed with title on reverse by later hand oil on canvas 83 x 70.5cm (32 11/16 x 27 3/4in).
PROVENANCE: Private collection, UK
Born into a large bourgeoisie family in Innsbruck, Franz Richard Unterberger studied at the Academy of Munich under Clemens von Zimmermann (1788-1869) and Julius Lange (1817-1878). Following this he attended the Academy of Weimar, before moving to Dusseldorf to work with Oswald von Achenbach (1827-1905) at the Academy of Dusseldorf.
Unterberger felt that the market might be more lucrative in Belgium, and therefore moved to Brussels in 1864, a place he would return to throughout his life. His first visit to Italy was to Milan in 1858 but he left shortly after because of the unsettled political situation there. However he would return to Italy throughout his life, especially after he began to spend the summer at Neuilly-sur-Seine, making these trips to more convenient. As international tourism grew during this period, Unterberger's works which depicted many of the popular European resorts, and included views in England, Norway, Denmark, and France, found a ready market amongst the burgeoning middle classes.
The Venetian cityscape, exemplifies Unterberger's most famous and important credo, "il puro vero." The "pure truth" which aimed to show daily life in large vistas, contrasting the magnificent and the ordinary. In this work, the viewer's attention is initially drawn to the spectacular buildings and the gondola in the foreground. Slowly, the viewer is drawn into the composition and we become aware of the domes Santa Maria della Salute in the background and the detail of people boarding gondolas. Unterberger's bright palette and his ability to capture light result in an evocative and dramatic celebration of this wonderful city.