The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Koch, Joseph Anton

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KOCH, Joseph Anton, Austrian landscape painter and etcher: b. Obergiebeln, Tyrol, 27 July 1768; d. Rome, 12 Jan. 1839. He started life tending cattle; was given instruction at the Stuttgart Karlschule through the recommendation of Bishop Umgelder (1785). He ran away from the strict discipline (1791) and reached Strassburg and, later, Rome (1795), where he became acquainted with and a follower of the classic tendency of Carstens. He adopted the style of Poussin and Claude Lorraine in landscape work. In his early days at Rome he etched the pages of Carstens ‘Les Argonautes, selon Pindar, Orphée et Apollonius de Rhode’ (Rome 1799). He also etched 20 Italian landscapes and a large sheet representing “the Oath of the French at Millesimo”; 14 pages after Dante, adding later another 30 (published Vicenza 1904), and 36 after Ossian. He contributed American landscape scenes to the works of von Humboldt (1805). At the Pinakothek, Munich, are his ‘Sacrifice of Noah’ and landscapes. He was forced, through inadequate income from his work, to go to Vienna, where he worked prolifically (1812-15). He returned to Rome, where he painted, among other works, the four frescoes in the Dante Room of the Villa Massimi (1824-29). His presence and personality had considerable influence among the younger generation in the art life of Rome. His work, directed humorously against unjustifiable criticism and false connoisseurship, was entitled ‘Moderne Kunstchronik oder die Rumfordische Suppege kocht und geschrieben von J. A. K.’ (Stuttgart 1834). His last years were spent in great poverty. Consult Frimmel, ‘Joseph Anton Koch’ (in Dohne's ‘Kunst and Künstler des 19ten Jahrhunderts,’ Leipzig 1884).