9734 A FAMILY OVERLOOKING A VILLAGE PROBABLY IN SWITZERLAND SIGNED WITH MONOGRAM “E.C.Z.” Almost Certainly Christoph Edward Zander (1813-1868). Measurements: Unframed: 50″ (127 cm) 36 1/2″ (93 cm). Framed: 60″ (152 cm) 45 1/2 (116 cm) Depth: 4 1/2″ (11.5cm).
Oil on canvas.
It has been suggested that the ‘village’ depicted in the background may represent some sort of industrial estate since the densely built-up area could not realistically depict a village plan. The closely-knit buildings indicate the source of wealth and pride of the bourgeois family assembled in the foreground, and the church so prominently displayed on the right may have been built or financed by this same group of patrons. The sheep jumping up in a dog-like manner could be a symbol of fidelity or gentleness but may allude more specifically to the trade in which the family who commissioned the picture were involved; that is, the wool industry.
The initials, “E.C.Z.” appear inside the hat held by the second figure from the left, which suggests German artist Christoph Edward Zander as the artist responsible for the painting. Zander (1813-1868) was raised to follow a career in farming, but abandoned that path to study painting in Munich, where he created a great number of landscapes and drawings of plants and animals.
In addition to painting, Zander was also involved in military and political pursuits. He was appointed the governor of the fortified island of Gregora by King Theodore of Ethiopia. He was subsequently made guardian of the treasury and archives and, in 1868, was made Minister of War, although he died in the same year.
We were told that an engraving was sold at Galerie Koller several years ago that showed this view, but without the family. We were also informed that the figures are so accomplished that it is possible this painting could have been a collaboration like those executed by Swiss artists Wolfgang-Adam Töpffer, Firmin Massot and Jacques-Laurent Agassé who combined their talents for landscape, animals and people, respectively.
It is rare that a work by this artist appears on the market. A notable collection of views of Ethiopia by this painter exists in the British Museum.