Altar Sketch with the Composition for The Cross in the Mountains

Friedrich, Caspar David (1774-1840) | Artist/Maker

Caspar David Friedrich’s drawing “Cross in the Mountains” is a variation on the composition of the “Tetschen Altar”, a major work by the most important artist of the Romantic period that is found in the Albertinum. Hans Posse acquired the work in 1942 at the Lucerne auction of the Julius and Clara Freund collection. Although the collection had been in safety in Switzerland since 1933, the Freund family was forced to sell their collections as a result of National Socialist persecution.

Citing the Washington Principles of 1998, in which Germany committed to resolving issues relating to Nazi art looting, the heirs demanded the return of the now widely dispersed collection. So far, there have been a broad range of findings on sales made from the safety of exile. The Advisory Commission formed to act as a mediator in disputes recommended the restitution of works in federal ownership. In 2010, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden endorsed this recommendation. Once the piece had been restituted, the SKD purchased it in an amicable agreement with the heirs.

Material & Technique
Watercolour, black pen and brush over pencil
c. 1817
Inventory number
C 1944-26