Fishing boats off the Norman coast, 1843
Rejected for „insufficient artistic talent“: In 1838, the young Eduard Hildebrandt tries unsuccessfully to gain admission to the Berlin Academy of Arts. He initially learns to paint from his father, but his aspirations for higher things lead him to walk to Berlin, where the judgement of Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764-1850) puts an early end to Hildebrandt‘s ambitions. The marine painter Wilhelm Krause (1803-1864) took him into his studio, where he produced seascapes to earn a living. In Paris he spends six months with the influential French marine painter Eugène Isabey (1803-1886). When he returned to Berlin in 1843, he met Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), with whom he became close friends. Through Humboldt, Hildebrandt had the opportunity to travel the world. Kaiser Wilhelm I (1797-1888) was one of the buyers of his work and awarded him the Red Eagle. In Hildebrandt‘s oeuvre there are many seascapes, especially in his earlier years, which is probably due to the influence of Krause and Isabey. His extensive travels allowed him to intensively study the relationship between light and water, which Hildebrandt knows how to render in a special quality and which sets him apart from other German painters. In this painting, which was probably painted during his stay in France, his characteristic working method becomes apparent: He dissolves forms and structures with distinct brushstrokes, thus creating dynamism and movement.