According to family anecdotes, the 16in x 2ft 2in (41 x 66cm) signed oil on board, had belonged originally to Ronald Coombes (1911-91) and his wife Violet, who lived in the coach house at Mount Ephraim, an historical house in Hernhill, Faversham, Kent. On his death, Ronald left all his possessions to a late member of the vendor’s family who had been a close friend.
Wisinger-Florian is regarded as an important artist in her homeland who helped develop a new style of landscape and still life painting. She was noted for her use of vivid colours, dynamic brushstrokes and also for being able to convey something of the sublime sense of nature.
She originally trained as a concert pianist but switched to painting in the mid-1870s and exhibited at the Vienna Secession exhibitions in the 1880s. Some of her works, such as the current picture, were ‘close-up views’ of trees or plants that were seemingly influenced by new approaches in photography.
While her works appear relatively often at auctions in Austria, they rarely emerge at UK regional sales. Along with the fact that this orchard scene had an attractive subject and vibrant colours, this meant that multiple parties from her homeland were eager to repatriate it, especially against a very tempting £6000-8000 estimate.
After strenuous competition online, it was eventually knocked down at £35,000 – a mid-range sum for the artist but the top price of the sale.