Cornelius (“Corny”) Wagner (German, 1870-1956)
Steam and Sail in London Harbor
Oil on canvas, signed and dated '96 lower right.
Provenance: Henry W. Phipps, Westbury, NY -- by direct family descent. The family house, finished in 1906 is now a public museum known as Old Westbury Gardens, on Long Island.
Painting: 20” x 30”
Frame: 25” x 34”
Cornelius Wagner was a German landscape and marine painter born in Dresden, who studied at the Dusseldorf Academy until 1895 and became a prolific and successful painter, including of works for public buildings.
Wagner made extended tours to the West Indies (1897) and Argentina (1904) and in 1906 settled in Kaiserwerth, Dusseldorf, until 1955, when he retired to Lake Starnberg. He was particularly interested in painting water, including ports (especially Hamburg), jetties, ships and shipyards, the Rhine and the German northern lakes. He only took part in a small number of largely German exhibitions, and one in Zurich, mainly before the First World War but in 1959 the Dusseldorf Art Association mounted a retrospective of his work of the period 1889-1949. There are many examples of his work in German collections and few in Britain, though he clearly visited England.
This early picture of the industrial Thames, bears a close relationship to his painting “The Atlas I” which is held in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. “Atlas 1” was a coaling derrick or pontoon operated from 1862 in the Port of London by William Cory and Sons - one of the largest importers of coal on the Thames.
Wagner exhibited just once at the Royal Academy annual exhibition in London, in 1910, showing a British coastal subject entitled 'Low-tide work' which is now in the Oldham Art Gallery.
Archibald, E.H.H. "Dictionary of Sea Painters"
Website of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Thieme-Becker, ed. "Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler vonder Antike bis zu Gegenwart"