Gerson Digital : Germany II


6.7 Genre Painting in the 19th Century

Not much good can be said about genre painting which is of interest to our study, being the imitation of Dutch forms and Dutch costumes. Theodor Leopold Weller (1802-1880) [1-2] from Munich and the Viennese Joseph Danhauser (1805-1845), who only occasionally made copies or harked back to old forms [3-4], are still the most palatable figures.1

Theodor Leopold Weller
The return of Italian land workers, dated 1831
canvas, oil paint 83,5 x 114,5 cm
lower left : 18 T/W 31 Olevano.
Munich, Neue Pinakothek

Theodor Leopold Weller
Landscape with women and cattle at a ruin, dated 1826
canvas, oil paint 45 x 37 cm
lower right : T.W. 1826
Carola van Ham (Keulen) 1969-10-15 - 1969-10-18, nr. 1895

Joseph Danhauser after Gerard ter Borch (II)
Sketch after a painting by Gerard ter Borch in the Mauritshuis and two heads en profile, 1842
paper, pencil 145 x 114 mm
Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina

Joseph Danhauser
The village politician, dated 1844
panel, oil paint 42 x 52,5 cm
Vienna, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere

Again we have to mention Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793-1865), who in his youth painted some genre pieces in the manner of Godefridus Schalcken, Gerard van Honthorst [5-6] and Samuel van Hoogstraten [7-10].2

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Self-portrait with a lantern, dated 1824
panel, oil paint 54 x 45 cm
lower center : Waldmüller 1824
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Two young women reading a letter: 'The Love Letter', dated 1849
canvas, oil paint 76 x 61,5 cm
center : Waldmüller 1849
Dorotheum (Vienna) 2013-10-16, nr. 1300

Josef Hauzinger manner of Samuel van Hoogstraten
Old vrouw in a window, in or after 1769
canvas, oil paint 81 x 76,5 cm
lower right : Hauzinger Acad Vienensis Professor fecit
Moscow, Pushkin Museum, inv./ 3239

Samuel van Hoogstraten
Old man in a window, dated 1653
canvas, oil paint 111 x 86,5 cm
lower right : SvH / 1653 [SvH in ligature]
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 378

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller after Josef Hauzinger manner of Samuel van Hoogstraten
Old vrouw in a window, ca. 1819
canvas, oil paint 54 x 52 cm
Löscher Plach (Vienna) 1878-04-15, nr. 43B

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Young peasant woman with three childeren in a window, dated 1840
canvas, oil paint 84,6 x 67,5 cm
lower right : Waldmüller 1840
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 12895

Of the others we only give some names that are quite rightly almost forgotten, in chronological order: Johann Georg Meyer von Bremen (1813-1886) [11],3 Reinhard Sebastian Zimmermann (1815-1893) [12-13], Arthur Georg von Ramberg (1819-1875) [14], Wilhelm Räuber (1849-1926) [15], Paul Höcker (1854-1910) and Claus Meyer (1856-1919). Meyer von Bremen strove to paint homely scenes in a warm Rembrandt light, Zimmermann tended more to a Frans Hals-like technique and Ramberg was one of the many tasteless costume painters. Their Belgian and French colleagues have already introduced us to this unattractive genre.4

Johann Georg Meyer
A Lady Writing, dated 1851
canvas, oil paint 48,5 x 38,5 cm
location unknown : Meyer von Bremen 851
Dorotheum (Vienna) 2012-04-17, nr. 43

Reinhard Sebastian Zimmermann
Merry company in an inn
canvas, oil paint 25,4 x 30,3 cm
lower left : R.S. Z.
Dorotheum (Vienna) 2011-02-15, nr. 59

Ernst Karl Georg Zimmermann
A man and a girl in a Dutch interior
panel, oil paint 66 x 48 cm
lower left : Ernst Zimmermann
Hugo Helbing (München) 1913-06-17, nr. 109

Arthur George von Ramberg
After the meal, c. 1870
canvas, oil paint 79,7 x 102,3 cm
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 7699

Wilhelm Räuber
Falconry near a lake, dated 1885
canvas, oil paint 74 x 125 cm
upper right : W. Räuber M 1885
Koller (Zürich) 1988-03-16 - 1988-03-19

Paul Höcker [16-17] and Claus Meyer travelled together with Count Leopold von Kalckreuth (1855-1928) to Holland, from where they took home some unforgettable impressions.5 Meyer expressed his fondness in countless interiors in the taste of Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer van Delft [18-22].6 The effect of the foreshortening and the lighting are if possible even more spicy than in the original and the female inhabitants of Munich parading in 17th-century costume are just a bit too pert to be able to blend in with the room, which is lined with gold leather [20].

Paul Höcker
Approaching footsteps, dated 1883
panel, oil paint 24,5 x 18,5 cm
upper right : P. Höcker München 83
Bonhams (London (England)) 1981-04-16, nr. 66

Paul Höcker
Flirting couple, dated 1879
panel, oil paint 47 x 37,5 cm
lower right : Paul Hoecker 1879
Christie's (London (England)) 1994-03-18, nr. 90

Claus Meyer free after Johannes Vermeer
Woman reading a letter in an interior, dated 1890
canvas, oil paint 65 x 52 cm
upper right : CLAUS MEYER, Munich, '90.
American Art Association (New York City) 1912-01-15 - 1912-01-17, nr. 196

Claus Meyer
Interior with a man looking out the window, c. 1892-1900
canvas, oil paint 95 x 60 cm
center right : CLAUSMEYER
Whereabouts unknown

Claus Meyer
Sweet visit, c. 1900
unknown, oil paint ? x ? cm
lower center : CLAUS Meyer
Whereabouts unknown

Claus Meyer
Young woman reading a letter, c. 1901
unknown, oil paint ? x ? cm
lower right : CLAUS Meyer
Whereabouts unknown

Claus Meyer
Reading boy
canvas, oil paint 42,7 x 39 cm
lower right : Claus Meyer
Liberec, Regional Art Gallery in Liberec

Max Gaisser
Man smoking his pipe in a Dutch interior
panel, oil paint 21 x 27 cm
lower left : M. Gaisser
Dorotheum (Vienna) 1994-04-19, nr. 593

Meyer’s ‘lemonade-sweet imitations of the Dutch interior’ were happily imitated in Munich, among others by Max Gaisser (1857-1922) [23-25] and Walter Firle (1859-1929) [26].7

Max Gaisser
Three smoking and drinking men with a maid in a Dutch interior
panel, oil paint 50 x 60 cm
lower right : M. Gaisser 88
Sotheby's (München) 1988-05-18, nr. 99

Max Gaisser
Two smoking and drinking men with a maid in a Dutch interior, dated 1888
panel, oil paint 38 x 30 cm
lower right : M. Gaisser 88
Hugo Helbing (München) 1913-06-17, nr. 21

Walter Firle
Two girls at the window, date 1903
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
upper right : Walther Firle 1903
Whereabouts unknown

The peasant paintings of Franz von Defregger (1835-1921) are also old fashioned. We can hardly believe that he wanted to imitate Adriaen Brouwer, but in the beginning he clearly seems to have had something like that in mind [27-28].8

Franz von Defregger
Egger Matzl, dated 1879
canvas, oil paint 26 x 21 cm
upper right : Defregger
Private collection

Franz von Defregger
Old man and young woman dancing in an inn, 1870s
canvas, oil paint 33 x 40,5 cm
lower left : Defregger
Schweinfurt, private collection Georg Schäfer, inv./ 75148923

There is only one artist who captured and experienced Brouwer as a painter: Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908) [29]. He wanted to become a painter instead of an engineer and was sent to Düsseldorf for his education. From there he travelled to Antwerp, where he saw Rubens, Brouwer, David Teniers II and Frans Hals. He himself related that these artists unsettled him and depressed him so much that he despaired of ever being able to make something great. He never made a secret of his admiration for the Dutch masters. He had copied pictures of Brouwer [30-31] and captured him appropriately in his witty sketches, as well as in his oil sketches [32-34] and his countless drawings, which accompanied his verses.9 Brouwer’s style of landscape fascinated him [35] and like Brouwer he understood how to take in the essential of a situation in a flash and render it in words and images. Nobody would consider the idea of putting Busch down as a Brouwer imitator; even the few copies after old masters are rendered fresh and natural, as if he didn’t have to follow an example.10

Wilhelm Busch
Self-portrait of Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908) in 17th-century costume
panel, oil paint 42,3 x 30,7 cm
upper left : W. Busch
Hannover, Wilhelm-Busch-Museum. Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Kritische Grafik, inv./ 1017

Adriaen Brouwer
Bitter draught
panel, oil paint 47,3 x 35,3 cm
lower right : AB
Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum, inv./ 1076

Wilhelm Busch after Adriaen Brouwer
Man pulling a nasty face
paper on cardboard, oil paint 20,5 x 15 cm
upper right : W.B.
Hannover, Wilhelm-Busch-Museum. Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Kritische Grafik, inv./ 1063

Wilhelm Busch
A woman disciplining a todller
panel, oil paint 24,3 x 29,3 cm
lower right : W. Busch
Berlin, Nationalgalerie (Berlijn), inv./ A III 872

Wilhelm Busch
Two peasants and an innkeeper in a village inn
paper on cardboard, oil paint 14 x 18,5 cm
upper right : W. Busch
Hannover, Wilhelm-Busch-Museum. Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Kritische Grafik, inv./ 1111a

Wilhelm Busch
Two peasants in a village inn
paper on cardboard, oil paint 22,2 x 25,5 cm
lower right : W. Busch
Hannover, Wilhelm-Busch-Museum. Deutsches Museum für Karikatur und Kritische Grafik, inv./ 1078

Wilhelm Busch
Landscape with rain
cardboard, oil paint 21 x 25 cm
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 8523


1 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Danhauser: Grabner 2011. In 1842 Danhauser travelled to Germany, Holland and Belgium, together with the textile manufacturer Rudolf von Arthaber (1796-1867); his sketchbook is in the Albertina in Vienna (online). Several sketches after paintings (by Gerard ter Borch II, Gabriel Metsu, Rembrandt en Rubens), including the related works, are included in RKDimages: 265744, 276915, 291617, 291683, 291684.

2 [Gerson 1942/1983] Images in Frimmel 1904A p. 73; Zimmerman 1923; Österreichische Kunsttopographie 1924, ill. 231; Berggrün 1887 , p. 74-75. Copy after Teniers II: Auction Vienna, 4 July 1935, no. 88. [Van Leeuwen 2018] In 1819 Waldmüller copied Hoogstraten’s Old Man in a Window of 1653 in a smaller, almost square format, to which he made a counterpart, Old Woman in a Window (Feuchtmüller 1996, p. 422, no. 47-48). The copies have not surfaced since 1878 and only of the woman is one image known. The image is a reproductive print based on a drawing by Gustave Frank, but it seems that a trompe l’oeil window frame was cut off. The painting must have been a copy after the work by Josef Hauzinger (1728-1786), which does show the trompe l’oeil frame, matching the Van Hoogstraten. In the Young Peasant Woman with Three Children in a Window (Neue Pinakothek) Waldmüller harks back to the Hoogstraten motif of the trompe l’oeil window. The copy after Teniers: RKDimages 291809.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On J.G. Meyer: Alexander 1910. Meyer From 1840 on, Meyer exhibited several times at the Levende Meesters exhibitions in the Netherlands.

4 [Van Leeuwen 2018] See Gerson 1942/1983, p. 25, 122-124. About the Frans Hals-like technique of Zimmermann: maybe Gerson confused the artist with his more talented son, Ernst Karl Georg Zimmermann (1852-1901).

5 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On their travels to Holland: Häder 1999, esp. p. 56-60. Meyer painted several young women reading a letter, but the one dated 1890 (RKDimages 291802) is very close (but larger in size) to the Johannes Vermeer which came into the collection of the Rijksmuseum in 1885. It is documented that Meyer visited the Rijksmuseum in 1883 (and the Frans Hals Museum in 1883, 1896 and 1906), but the Vermeer was also on accessible in the collection of Adriaen van der Hoop. Bergvelt/Filedt Kok/Middelkoop 2004, p. 85, ill., p. 182, no. 194, ill. (with complete provenance).

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Oldenbourg/Bernays 1922, vol. 2, p. 210.

7 [Gerson 1942/1983] Oldenbourg/Uhde-Bernays 1922, vol.2, p. 210, 294. Louis Corinth makes fun of the fact that people painted every other year in different way: old master style, like Munkácsy, Dutch, Scottish etc. Pietsch reprimands the Munich painters of 1888 for only paintin Dutch interiors (Oldenbourg/Uhde-Bernays 1922, vol.2, p. 230-231).

8 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Defregger: Defregger 1983, Rosenheim 1983.

9 [Gerson 1942/1983] Heppner 1938, with illustrations and quotes. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Lange/Küster/Dohe 2013.

10 [Gerson 1942/1983] Voss 1908, p. 1129; Dorner 1932.

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