With A Tribute to Claude, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is presenting a selection of landscape drawings by the Hamburg artist Horst Janssen (1929–1995) that were inspired by the work of the great landscape artist Claude Lorrain (1604/5–1682). The theme of landscape is a constant in Janssen’s drawings and etchings. In 1971, he chanced upon the so-called Album Wildenstein in the Norton Simon Collection in Pasadena, California, in which the art historian Marcel Roethlisberger had published 71 landscape drawings by Lorrain. Janssen was inspired to come up with his own interpretations, and he proceeded during the summer of 1972 to execute some 250 landscape drawings in the span of only three weeks, using Claude’s preferred technique of pen-and-ink drawing with a brush wash.
Some of the drawings now presented in the Harzen Cabinet refer with their titles directly to Janssen’s famous role model, for example “Landscape in Holstein: Tribute to Claude Lorrain, 4 August 1972”. As so often with Janssen, however, he also made so-called “copies without a template,” trying to immerse himself in the mood, artistic attitude, and technique of the Old Master while evoking his own impressions of the surrounding Holstein landscape.
This exhibition is a tribute not only to Claude Lorrain but also to the Hamburg collector and Janssen’s close friend Gerhard Schack (1929–2007), whose bequest was the source of the drawings and prints presented here.