Meet the Master: Franz Skarbina

“A Promenade in the Park at Sanssouci” (1885; watercolor and gouache over graphite on wove paper; 9 1/8 x 12 1/16 in.; Purchased as the Gift of Alexander M. and Judith W. Laughlin)

A city dweller for most of his career, Franz Skarbina (German, 1849-1910) is best known for his paintings of urban life. During the summers, however, he would sometimes visit popular seaside resorts, where he was inspired to paint scenes of the sea and figures on the beach.

“The Beach at Marina Piccola, Capri” (1883; watercolor and gouache on wove paper, 9 9/16 × 13 1/8 in.; William B. O’Neal Fund)

He captured the scene in The Beach at Marina Piccola, Capri on a trip to Capri, where like many German artists he stayed at the Hotel Pagano, the first hotel established on the island. The lively watercolor depicts a beach on the small, sheltered bay of Marina Piccola, on the south side of the island. Facing the three sea stacks known as the Faraglioni, the beach was a favorite bathing spot in the 19th century and continues to be popular today.

All of the items in the artist’s estate were destroyed during World War II, and today only a handful of watercolors from this brief stay in Capri are known.


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