Jonas  Zeuner

Getting to Know:

Jonas Zeuner

1727 - 1814

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Jonas Zeuner was born in Kassel, Germany, in 1727. Little is known about his early life before his move to Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 1750, and it would be another 20 years before he created his first-known artworks.

Believed to have created 170 paintings between 1770 and his death in 1814, Zeuner has earned himself a lasting legacy for perfecting the verre églomisé technique. Verre églomisé involves applying gold leaf to glass using a gelatine adhesive and etching in a design which is then viewed from the reverse and creates a mirrored effect. It dates back to ancient times (pre-dating the Roman empire) but saw a revival in Italy during the 13th and 16th centuries and in France during the 18th century. The technique has been used frequently in clock face and decorative mirror making as well as commercial window signs. The Blaue Reiter group of European expressionist artists including Paul KleeWassily Kandinsky, and Fran Marc all explored verre églomisé during the 1920s, seeing the technique as a remnant of the folk-art tradition which was such an influence for their group. 

His preferred subject matters were townscapes of Dutch cities, like Amsterdam and Utrecht, canal views, and country houses. He is believed to have visited or lived in England during the first decade of the 19th century, producing several works of English landscapes. He also created mirror works based on engravings by his contemporaries, Jan de BeyerSimon Fokke, and Wiebrand Hendriks.

The gleaming effect of his works and their pleasant subject matter brought Zeuner great popularity in polite Dutch society.  His favour in fashionable circles gave his small body of work a lasting legacy which led to their inclusion in Amsterdam’s Rijks Museum, New York’s Corning Museum of Glass, and brings him success at auction to this day. His works have reached 6 figures USD at auction, and his record price currently stands at $163,800 for two oil-on-mirror views of Utrecht sold at Christie’s in New York in January 2023.

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