Mount Tamalpais from Greenbrae, n.d.
Carl von Perbandt (American, born Germany, 1832–1911)
Oil on canvas, 30 x 50 in. Crocker Art Museum purchase with funds from Gerald D. Gordon, 2007.110.

Called “Von” by his friends, Carl von Perbandt was born into an aristocratic family in Lagendorf, Prussia. He studied art at the Düsseldorf Academy and achieved a reputation as a talented marine painter before moving to New York City in 1870.

Six years later, von Perbandt moved to San Francisco and began painting landscapes and marine views. Believing the only true school for a painter was nature, he spent much time working outdoors. He soon set off for the Monterey Peninsula, exploring the area with French painter Jules Tavernier. He then traveled to the rural areas of Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties, setting up a studio near Fort Ross and living among the Pomo Indians with fellow artist Henry Raschen.

In the 1880s, von Perbandt painted several views of Marin County. The art critic for the San Francisco Chronicle described landscapes such as this one as “unsurpassed” in their “harmony of colors, unity of feeling and charming serenity . . . especially the wonderful variety of green . . . that in looking upon one of his pictures, the spectator is carried away to the fields and forests themselves, and commences to be lulled into a sweet and quiet dream.”(1)

Von Perbandt ultimately returned to San Francisco and moved in with a German family. From there, he continued to produce views of the wilderness and panoramic views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate. Wishing to be in his home country in his last years, he returned to Prussia in 1903.

(1) San Francisco Chronicle, 20 March 1892.

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