John Robert Cozens

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John Robert Cozens
Mountain Landscape
Watercolor in tones of blue, gray, and green, over graphite, on paper.
14 5/16 x 19 15/16 inches (363 x 506 mm)
Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund 1978.

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This drawing bears similarities of composition and handling with studies Cozens made during his first sojourn in Switzerland in the summer of 1776. Cozens, whose work greatly influenced the next generation of British landscape watercolorists, notably J.M.W. Turner and Thomas Girtin, traveled with the connoisseur Richard Payne Knight en route to Italy, remaining there until 1779. He executed fifty-seven almost monochromatic Swiss views for Payne Knight, many of which he used for later, more finished works. In his Alpine views Cozens was the first British artist to move beyond the straightforward topographical record to a more subjective, atmospheric depiction. His mountain views often include a tiny human figure or two, as in the present drawing, emphasizing the immense scale of the landscape. This drawing joins two others by the artist in the Thaw collection, both of Italian views. The Thaw collection also includes four drawings by the artist's father, Alexander Cozens (ca. 1717-1786).


Inscribed on verso at center in graphite, "from the summit of a mountain / A Cozens", in different hands at lower right, "Laj Damons(?) 19 3/4 x 14 1/8 Sight".
Watermark: "I Taylor" ; close to Heawood 3441.

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