THE ENCHANTED ROCK  |   PART EIGHT:

  

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Meusebach’s treaty with the Comanche opened the frontier to surveyors and settlement. With accurate maps the land could be not only settled but also claimed by deed of ownership. With new settlements Enchanted Rock became more than a landmark surround my mystery and legend. It became the subject of Texas’ first landscape artist.

A German settler arrived in Fredericksburg in 1851 who would, in his own way, leave his mark on the history of Enchanted Rock. An accomplished landscape painter trained in Dresden, Hermann Lungkwitz was the first artist to capture on canvas the mood and mystery of this legendary landmark. In his romantic style the artist greatly exaggerated the contours of Enchanted Rock in order to capture the spiritual nature of his subject.

His first landscape of Enchanted Rock was completed in the 1850s, but he was to return to the site many times between then and the 1880s. In a letter to a friend he wrote of one of his painting expeditions in 1888: "I found and painted a few charming views of Enchanted Rock and the neighboring mountain ridges from my position on a very precipitous peak called the Rauhenkopf. To reach my point of observation, I had to hike one and a half miles every day through mesquite brush and over rocky ground without any path. Regretfully, I was unable to walk a further mile for a full view of the Wachtenauer [Watch Mountain] and Kullhead [Bullhead] Mountains, so I concluded my studies here for this time, also, because I could not find any lodging near these imposing mountains.

"Within the radius of six miles, one cannot find any human habitation—one can only camp out…I lived very simply here, spent every day in the good, very dry air and was in very good health, so that I could easily carry my twenty pounds of paraphernalia up the steep mountain. Then I painted very diligently from early morning until sundown. After returning to my lodging, I would fall into a deep, sound sleep, only to wake up before dawn, fully refreshed—and so day after day!"

Lungkwitz painted at least six landscapes of Enchanted Rock between the 1850s and the 1850s Over the years he created numerous works of the Hill Country including scenes of New Braunfels, Sisterdale, Fredericksburg, Mount Bonnell, San Antonio, West Cave, Hamilton Pool, and Marble Falls. In all of his paintings Lungkwitz managed to capture in meticulous detail and faithful color the beauty and brilliance of the natural environment. Of particular note are Lungkwitz’s large pencil drawing executed in lines so sharp they have a quality found in the finest of etchings.

Lungkwitz was not alone in his artistic endeavors. His brother in law, Richard Petri, came to Texas at the same time and settled in Fredericksburg. Unlike the landscape painter Lungkwitz, Petri painted numerous scenes of pioneer life in their new homeland. Petri’s painting of the Comanche and Lipan Indians which frequented Fredericksburg have been of particular interest to researchers.

Petri died in 1857, at the age of thirty three, from accidental drowning in the Pedernales River. The legacy he and Lungkwitz left behind are remarkable both in their historic and artistic value.

 

INTRODUCTION |  PART 1: THE FIRST PEOPLEPART 2: THE IMAGINARY FRONTIER  |  PART 3: GONE TO TEXAS 
PART4:
WILLIAM KENNEDY'S TEXAS | PART 5: JACK HAYS  |  PART 6: THE NEW PROMISED LAND  |  PART 7: THE OPEN FRONTIER 
  PART 8:
PIONEER ARTIST  |  PART 9: INTO THE MODERN ERA  |  PART 10: POSTSCRIPT

(c) 1999   Ira Kennedy   All rights reserved