Christen Kobke

Sanford Schwartz, Author
Sanford Schwartz, Author Rizzoli International Publications $35 (153p) ISBN 978-0-943221-15-1
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Scarcely known outside of his native Denmark, painter Christen Kobke (1810-1848), like his contemporary Soren Kierkegaard, was ``attuned to the sheer momentariness of things.'' His jewel-like, realist scenes of everyday life radiate a healing clarity. Romantic landscapes--dramas of air, light and color--recall Caspar David Friedrich's theatrical scenes, but without the rhetoric. The subjects of Kobke's striking portraits look as if they've leapt out of 19th-century fiction. His miniaturist precision reveals him as an analyst of the space within a painting, fluent in the language of the Dutch masters, later that of Degas and Seurat. In this sensitive, richly illustrated monograph, Schwartz, an art critic and essayist for the New Yorker and the Atlantic , performs a valuable service by introducing Kobke to an American audience. (Dec.)
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