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Christian Anton GOERING (1836 – 1905).

[Leipzig:] 1886.

Water-colour on paper, mounted on later paper, sheet: 39 x 59 cm (15.3 x 23.2 inches), Drawing: 35 x 55 cm (13.8 x 21.6 inches), (light mat-burns to the margins, but otherwise in a good condition).

An original drawing of the wildlife of the Orinoco River, made by the German explorer Christian Anton Goering

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Christian Anton Goering (1836 – 1905) developed his interests in zoology at a young age as a son of a passionate ornithologist. He worked as a taxidermist and conservator at the zoological museum of the University of Halle, a job he received by the recommendation of Christian Ludwig Brehm, another keen ornithologist of the time. Brehm’s son Alfred (1829 – 1884) later authored the famous work Brehms Tierleben (Brehm’s Animal Life), which was illustrated by Goering.

Christian Anton Goering made his first journey to South America from 1856 until 1858, and then again between 1866 and 1874, when he travelled around Venezuela to the Orinoco Reiver, following the path of Alexander von Humboldt, where he collected specimens for the British Museum and executed a series of drawings, mostly with motifs from the nature, which he exhibited at the Exposición Anual de Bellas Artes Venezolanas in Caracas in 1872.

Upon his return to Germany Goering published his drawings in the magazine Die Gartenlaube – Illustrirtes Familienblatt and later prepared a new series, based on his Venezuela sketches for the travelogue Vom tropischen Tieflande zum ewigen Schnee. Eine malerische Schilderung des schönsten Tropenlandes Venezuela (From the Tropic Sun to Eternal Snow. A Picturesque Description of the Most Beautiful Tropical Country Venezuela), which was published in Leipzig in 1892.

The present drawing, dated 1886, was probably one of the drafts for this book. A similar chromolithograph with flamingos with various plants, depicting flora and fauna of the Orinoco river appears as one of the illustrations in the publication. Goering’s water colours after his return to Germany are adjusted to appeal to the European vision of the exotic South America, as his art-work made on the field is of more decorative nature.