Peaks and Glaciers 2017: paintings, drawings and photographs of the Alps

Explore beautiful mountain imagery at John Mitchell Fine Paintings gallery in London

Our sixteenth winter exhibition and accompanying catalogue of Alpine paintings, drawings and vintage photography from the 1850s to the present day is now open and will run until 3rd March.

Alexandre Calame (1810-1864) A mountain torrent in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland
Alexandre Calame (1810-1864) A mountain torrent in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

Peaks and Glaciers offers much topographical diversity but, as ever, opts for quality over any attempt to cover all the better known Alpine resorts and peaks.

Prices range from £ 950 to £ 95,000.

James Hart Dyke (b.1965) Wildhorn and Spitzhorn, Gstaad, Switzerland – a panorama
James Hart Dyke (b.1965) Wildhorn and Spitzhorn, Gstaad, Switzerland – a panorama

For well over a decade, through both selling and loan exhibitions, I have tried to develop a wider appreciation of paintings of the Alps from the late eighteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. The focus remains on the Swiss, French and British painters such as Alexandre Calame, his pupil, Gabriel Loppé, Charles-Henri Contencin and Jacques Fourcy.

 

Charles-Henri Contencin (1898-1955) The Mont Blanc Massif seen from Megève, France
Charles-Henri Contencin (1898-1955)
The Mont Blanc Massif seen from Megève, France

In the nineteenth century scientists, writers, artists and composers alike headed to the Alps, and as with the eighteenth century Grand Tour and its requisite destinations, the region’s valleys, passes, peaks and glaciers began to lure more and more visitors.

 

Jacques Fourcy (1906-1990) Crevasses on the Glacier du Géant with the Tour Ronde in the distance, Chamonix, France
Jacques Fourcy (1906-1990)
Crevasses on the Glacier du Géant with the Tour Ronde in the distance, Chamonix, France

 

The pioneering climbers and scientists such as Leslie Stephen, John Tyndall and Edward Whymper belonged to the earlier generation, the Golden Age of Mountaineering’s ‘Founding Fathers’, but by the end of the nineteenth century Alpine tourism had expanded rapidly.

 

Arthur Croft (1828-1902) The Matterhorn seen from the Stockji Glacier, Zermatt, Switzerland
Arthur Croft (1828-1902) The Matterhorn seen from the Stockji Glacier, Zermatt, Switzerland

With faster travel and easier access to hitherto remote valleys, the villages of Chamonix, Lauterbrunnen and Zermatt responded with a building spree of hotels and cog railways, and the widespread publication of postcards and other images of the Alps broadened their appeal.

 

Karl Ludwig Prinz (1875-1944) The Zillertal Alps seen from Schwarzsee, Austria
Karl Ludwig Prinz (1875-1944) The Zillertal Alps seen from Schwarzsee, Austria

 

Countless late nineteenth century artists, specifically from the northern schools of painting, travelled to Italy and round the Mediterranean adding Europe’s mountainous regions, glacial lakes and valleys to their repertoire.

 

LEFT - Georges Tairraz I (1868-1924) Climbers ascending Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets Glacier, Chamonix, France RIGHT - Georges Tairraz I (1868-1924) The Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France
Left – Georges Tairraz I (1868-1924) Climbers ascending Mont Blanc via the Grands Mulets Glacier, Chamonix, France
Right – Georges Tairraz I (1868-1924) The Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France

The story of early photographers and the Alps continues to captivate buyers and this year, to reflect the gallery’s increasing involvement in this field of collecting, the prints have their own distinct section in the catalogue. Demand outstripped supply, particularly in the case of the early photographs which were so cumbersome and expensive to create, but, crucially, these mementoes of such wondrous landscapes allowed the viewers to supplant themselves and stand in the artist’s footsteps.

 

Left - Pierre Tairraz (1933-2000) Alpinists on the Glacier des Périades with Mont Mallet in the background, Chamonix, France Right - Georges Tairraz II (1900-1975) Two climbers traversing the Aiguille du Midi and Aiguille du Plan, Chamonix, France
Left – Pierre Tairraz (1933-2000)
Alpinists on the Glacier des Périades with Mont Mallet in the background, Chamonix, France
Right – Georges Tairraz II (1900-1975)
Two climbers traversing the Aiguille du Midi and Aiguille du Plan, Chamonix, France

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Peaks and Glaciers’ exhibition will be open until the 3rd of March 2017

Download the Exhibition Catalogue

View all John Mitchell Fine Paintings in the Bridgeman archive

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