Gerson Digital : Germany II


4.2 Civil Genre Painting in Munich

In Munich, the evolution of the South German Rococo painting and the revival of Dutch art around the middle of the century can best be considered a result of the upcoming middle-class. Georges Desmarées (1697-1776) is the representative of the Rococo portrait [1]. The unimportant Bartholomäus Ignaz Weiss (c. 1840-1814) started as an academic court painter of miniatures and ended as an etcher after Rembrandt [2], Dou and Dietrich. Christian Winck (1738-1797) developed in a similar way. His early works are fresh and colourful, in the later works he slipped down to an imitation of the Dutch minor masters. Echoes of Rembrandt’s art are less common here; yet most evident in a representation such as the Doubting Thomas of 1770 (collection Röhrer) [3], which is on a par with a Zick (with a delicate Christ type à la Van Dyck). He placed the portrait of his colleague Desmarées in a stone niche, after the recipe of the fine painters of Leiden [4].1

Georges Desmarées
Portrait of Georges Desmarees (1697-1776) and Maria Antonia de Marees (....-....), dated 1760
canvas, oil paint 159 x 118 cm
Munich, Alte Pinakothek, inv./ 42

Bartholomäus Ignaz Weiss after Johann Anton Riedel after Rembrandt
Self portrait of Rembrandt with a bittern
paper, inkt, etching ? x ? mm
lower left : Rembrandt.
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

Christian Winck
Doubting Thomas, dated 1770
copper, oil paint 46 x 34,5 cm
Munich/Unterschondorf, private collection Sigmund Röhrer

Johann Jacob Dorner (I)
Self-portrait of Johann Jacob Dorner (1741-1813) with his family, dated 1776
panel, oil paint 35,4 x 24,3 cm
lower right : [......] 1776
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 5105

Christian Winck
Portrait of court-painter Georg des Marées (1697-1776) while painting the portrait of Christian Winck, dated 1771
zinc, oil paint 33 x 25,5 cm
lower right : Christianus / Wink pinx. / 1771
Munich, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, inv./ R 5772

Pre-eminent in the retrospective direction in Munich is Johann Jacob Dorner I (1741-1835) [5], who completely followed Gerard Dou and the Dou-school (Frans van Mieris, Matthijs Naiveu) in his genre paintings and above all persistently adopted their painted architectural edging and framing [6-8].

From 1765 he was court painter for Elector Max Joseph III [9] and from 1769 his museum director, after a trip to Düsseldorf, Holland and Paris, where he became friends with Johann Georg Wille. Historizing painting and managing the gallery often went hand in hand. Later Dorner had to deliver four paintings every year in the manner of Gerard Dou and Caspar Netscher to the Electoral gallery [10]. In this way he introduced the taste for the Dutch in Munich, which would not have succeeded if it hadn’t corresponded with the needs of the time.2

Johann Jacob Dorner (I)
The sick woman, dated 1772
panel, oil paint 40,9 x 32,6 cm
location unknown :
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 2848

Johann Jacob Dorner (I)
The cloth shop, dated 1775
panel, oil paint 51,1 x 41,1 cm
lower right : J. Jacob Dorner / 1775
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 57

Johann Jacob Dorner (I)
Two Savoyards with listeners in a doorway, dated 1770
panel, oil paint 38,9 x 30 cm
lower right : Dorner 1770
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 2186

Johann Jacob Dorner (I)
Duke Maximilian III Joseph of Bavaria at the Lathe, with Count von Salern, dated 1765
? x ? cm
München, Gärten und Seen Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser

Johann Jacob Dorner (I) after Gerard Dou
Old woman unreeling threads
panel, oil paint 33 x 24,5 cm
Karl & Faber (München) 2008-12-04, nr. 88

In this effort he had also supporters: thus the paintings of the Fleming Peter Jacob Horemans (1700-1776) [11-13], who worked in Munich from 1725, didn’t differ too much from the artistic views of Dorner’s circle.3 Others on the other hand limited themselves to genre-like interpreted portrait studies of old men, that were dressed up in a Rembrandt way. Johann Baptist Baader (1717-1780) [14]4 and Conrad Mannlich (1700-1758) [15] painted such heads.5

Better known is Johann Georg Edlinger (1741-1819), who was appointed as a court painter in Munich in 1781 and who more and more focused on old people’s portraits [16-17]. Sometimes they appear as hermits and look very much like their ‘ancestors’, painted by Rembrandt and Gerard Dou. Edlinger’s character heads are very much like the creations that Christopher Paudiss had painted about a hundred years earlier in Germany, although the brushwork remains smoother and rubbed, as seen in the work of Balthasar Denner.6 If we compare his portraits, even the official royal portraits with the approach of the elegant Georges Desmarées, it becomes clear, that taste had changed profoundly in the meantime, to a preference for an objective, bourgeois naturalism.

Peter Jacob Horemans
Self-portrait of Peter Jacob Horemans (1700-1776) in his studio, dated 1766
canvas, oil paint 83,5 x 73,5 cm
lower left : Petrus Horemans 1766
Bayreuth, Staatsgalerie im Neuen Schloss Bayreuth

Peter Jacob Horemans
The sleeping scullery maid, dated 1765
canvas, oil paint 41,4 x 33,6 cm
lower left : Petrus Horemans 1765
Bayreuth, Staatsgalerie im Neuen Schloss Bayreuth, inv./ 3000

Peter Jacob Horemans
The attentive host, dated 1765
canvas, oil paint 41,4 x 33,5 cm
lower left : Petrus Horemans 1765
Bayreuth, Staatsgalerie im Neuen Schloss Bayreuth, inv./ 2999

Johann Baptist Baader
Head of a man in fantasy costume
canvas, oil paint 49 x 37 cm
lower center : Bader
(Boedapest) 1924-03-31, nr. 39

Conrad Mannlich
Portrait of a man with a fur cap
paper, brush, inkt 153 x 119 mm
Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv./ Hz4868

Johann Georg Edlinger
Half-lenght figure of a old woman with glasses in her hand
canvas, oil paint 61 x 48 cm
Lepke (Berlin) 1925-05-12, nr. 220

Johann Georg Edlinger
Buste of an old man
canvas, oil paint 53 x 42 cm
Hugo Helbing (München) 1916-06-06, nr. 59

Edlinger genuinly used the chiaroscuro in his painting to heighten the expression [18], while Anton Hickel (1745-1798) only took over the external effects of the Honthorst-lighting and the fine painting of Gerard Dou [19-21].

Johann Georg Edlinger
Portrait of an older man
canvas, oil paint 69 x 52,5 cm
Schweinfurt, Museum Georg Schäfer

Anton Hickel
Roxelane (1502-1558) and Sultan Suleiman the magnificent (1494-1566), dated 1780
canvas, oil paint 138 x 99 cm
Mainz, Landesmuseum Mainz

Anton Hickel
Portrait of Marie-Louise-Thérèse van Savoye, Princess of Lamballe (1749-1792), dated 1788
canvas, oil paint 66 x 44 cm
Vaduz-Vienna, Liechtenstein - The Princely Collections

Anton Hickel
Engagement by candlelight, 1790s
canvas, oil paint 102 x 83,5 cm
lower center : Hickel p.
Vienna, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, inv./ 6246

Johan Jacob Mettenleiter (1750-1825), who was in The Netherlands (and even got lost to the Cape), is said to have painted Dutch cabinet paintings and to have copied Balthasar Denner’s works. According to other reports he painted hermits in the manner of Dou [22-24].7 Even with a classicist like the Dorner pupil Joseph Hauber (1766-1834) paintings of old men in Rembrandt’s way are to be found [25-26].8

Johan Jakob Mettenleiter
A scullery maid with her helper in a kitchen with pots and pans, dated 1780
copper, oil paint 48,7 x 36,5 cm
lower right : JMettenleiter pinxit 1780
Dorotheum (Vienna) 2002-06-05, nr. 146

Johan Jakob Mettenleiter
A man, a woman and a child in an interior eating
copper, oil paint 49 x 36 cm
left center : J. Mettenleiter
im Kinsky (Vienna) 2015-06-16 - 2015-06-17, nr. 27

Johan Jakob Mettenleiter
A man chipping wood and a woman spinning at the open window
copper, oil paint 49 x 36 cm
lower center : J. Mettenleiter F.
Neumeister (München) 2002-09-25, nr. 497

Joseph Hauber
Head of an old man, dated 1813
panel, oil paint 41 x 34 cm
: Jos. Hauber fecit 1813
Heinrich Hahn (Frankfurt am Main) 1938-04-05 - 1938-04-07, nr. 48

Joseph Hauber
Head of an old man
paper, etching, aquatint 85 x 67 mm
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ JHauber AB 3.1


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Ill. in Biermann 1914, no. 296 and no. 376.

2 [Gerson 1942/1983] For Dorner (and also for the following) Oldenbourg 1922, p. 24, 29. Illustrations of his works in Biermann 1914, no. 403 and often in Southern German and Viennese auction catalogues.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On P.J. Horemans: Munich 1974.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] A striking ‘Rembrandt painting’ in the auction Szecheny in Budapest, 31 March 1924, no. 39. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Image Witt Library, London.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Conrad von Mannlich also painted still-lifes (several in RKDimages).

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Leber 1924, p. 171-175 is of the opinion, that his brushwork is snappier than that of Rembrandt.

7 [Gerson 1942/1983] Meusels Miscellaneen 13 (1782), p. 13-25; Martin 1901, p. 148, note 4.

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Auction Frankfurt, 5 April 1938, no. 48, ill. [Van Leeuwen 2018] In the auction catalogue as ‘Character head of a bearded man in the manner of Rubens’ (in translation). On Hauber: Schneider 1974.

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