JOSEPH OPPENHEIMER ~ Riding on Rotten Row, Hyde Park

This accomplished artist was born in Würzburg, Germany, in 1876, the fourth generation of a family of artists. He began painting at an early age. Until old enough to study at the Academie, he studied in Munich under Konrad Fehr, Johann Leonard Raab, Gabriel von Hackl and Paul Hoecker. A renowned landscape, portrait, and still-life painter, Oppenheimer was much influenced by the FrenchImpressionists.

He moved to England in 1896 and he set up a studio at the Pheasantry in the King’s Road, Chelsea. He became a member of the International Society of Artists, the president of which was Rodin. He taught in 1906 and 1907 at the London School of Arts. He spent much of his time travelling to paint and to work on commissions in Britain, Continental Europe and America, and in all these areas his work became very well known and sought after. He was a member of the Berlin and Munich Secession.

This painting is certainly one of Oppenheimer’s most accomplished works and an illustration of some of the essential aims of Impressionism. On examining this painting one is aware of the importance of colour harmony which is so splendidly carried out here. Colour is not localized but is picked up like a melody in various parts of the canvas – the blues of the sky peeking through the wonderful vibrant greens of the trees combined with the use of bold violet in the costumes of the riders combined together to portray the perfect painting. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Rotten Row was a fashionable and popular meeting place for upper-class Londoners to be seen. Particularly on weekend evenings and at midday, people would dress in their finest clothes in order to ride along the row and be seen. Rotten Row was established by William III at the end of the 17th century. He created the broad avenue through Hyde Park, lit with 300 oil lamps in 1690– the first artificially lit highway in Britain. The track was called Route du Roi, French for King’s Road, which was eventually corrupted into “Rotten Row”. Paintings of this caliber depicting Hyde Park are extremely desirable but sadly are very scarce.

Oppenheimer exhibited several times during his lifetime at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh where he twice received an honourable mention. He won a gold medal at the prestigious Munich International Exhibition in 1904 and also won a bronze medal at the Barcelona International Exhibition. He also exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and had one man shows in Germany, England, Canada and New York. He was a member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He is also known to have exhibited at the following galleries in England: Goupil Gallery London, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, Manchester City Art Gallery.

Examples of his work may be seen in the following museums: the Museum of Mannheim (“Regate a Stenley”); the National Gallery (“George Salting”); Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Royal College of Surgeons of England; London Jewish Museum of Art and Balliol College, University of Oxford, England.

This important example of his work is presented in pristine condition in its original period frame and is signed by the artist.

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1876 – 1966

Title: “Riding on Rotten Row, Hyde Park”

Date: c. 1905

Size: Height 36 inches Width 45 inches (framed)