Ferdinand Bellermann (1814–1889), Germany
At the Sugar Mill, ca. 1868–70
Oil on canvas
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
The San Esteban sugar plantation in Venezuela is the subject of several large-scale works Bellermann painted in his studio after he returned to Germany. At the Sugar Mill is the largest and probably latest of these, which vary only slightly from the many pencil drawings and small oil sketches that Bellermann produced during his Venezuelan sojourn from 1842 to 1845. Sugarcane plants dominate the foreground of the composition, while a group of slaves harvest the cane nearby. While these figures are romanticized, Bellerman portrays the varieties of palms and other vegetation that surround the plantation with precise detail.