11558 PAIR OF BOTANICAL WATERCOLORS DEPICTING STEIN LINDEN AND WILDE REEB BY LUDWIG PFLEGER (1720-1793) German. Circa 1788. Measurements: Framed: Height: 24 1/4″ (61.6 cm); Width: 17″ (43.2 cm). Sight Size: Height: 19 1/2″ (49.5 cm); Width: 13″ (33 cm).
Of pen and watercolor on paper.
These two watercolor botanical studies represent “Stein Linden,” a linden or lime tree, and “Wilde Reeb,” a type of vine-grape, painted by the German artist Ludwig Pfleger (1720–1793).
The artist had an affinity for, and specialized in the depiction of, flora and fauna. “His father, Franz Pfleger, designed the gardens at Schloss Favorite, Rastatt, where he was the artistic director under Sybilla Augusta, Countess of Baden-Baden.”1 It may have been this horticultural work that inspired a young Ludwig.
The format of Pfleger’s watercolors relates to early modern illustrated encyclopedic botanical publications in his “taxonomical approach and holistic focus on the specific properties of each wood species (bark, grain, leaves, blossoms, and seeds).”2
A group of studies from the same series as the present pictures by Pfleger is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They illustrate the leaves, blossoms, fruit and trunks of an English oak, a wild apple tree, a whitebeam and an English elm. (figure 1).