Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Gabriel Decker (Austria, 1821-55)



Figure 1.-- We note a charming watercolor portrait of the Redtenbacher children in a park. They look to be about 2-7 years pf age. Their names are Leo, August, and Alexander. They are wearing tunics and dresses. It is a littke diffiult to tell the difference. It suggests that the tunic was an important garment for well to do Austrian children in the mid-19th century. Notice the plain white patalettes and short striped socks. They are pictured in what looks like a park or grounds for an estate. We are not sure about the date. There is a date on the left margin, it may say 1850.

Gabriel Decker was a Hungarian-born Austrian artist. He was born in Budapest (1821). Hungary at the time was ruled by the Hapsburg Austrian monarchy. There was an extensive mixing of people within the Austrian-ruled lands. Many Austrians lived in Budapest. We hve been unable to find bibliographic information about Decker and his career. His name suggests that he wasan Austraian rather than a Hugarian. We do not know where he worked, Vienna, Budapest or elswhere in the Empire. As best we can tell he was a commercial portrait painter. The works we have found are all formal portraits, most of individuals. A few include children. As his work is very realistic the portraits provide a good record of clothing worn by well to do children in vienna and other cities in Austrian ruled areas.

Biography

Gabriel Decker was a Hungarian-born Austrian artist. He was born in Budapest (1821). Hungary at the time was ruled by the Hapsburg Austrian monarchy. There was an extensive mixing of people within the Austrian-ruled lands. Many Austrians lived in Budapest. We hve been unable to find bibliographic information about Decker and his career. His name suggests that he wasan Austraian rather than a Hugarian. We do not know where he worked, Vienna, Budapest or elswhere in the Empire. As best we can tell he was a commercial portrait painter. The works we have found are all formal portraits, most of individuals. A few include children. As his work is very realistic the portraits provide a good record of clothing worn by well to do children in vienna and other cities in Austrian ruled areas. Vienna set the standards or fashions throughout the Empire. We believe he primarily worked in Vienna, but this needs to be confirmed. Decker died at a very young age in Vienna (1855).

Portraits

Wehave found a few portraits by Decker involving children. These images are very valuable because Decker painted during an era that photography was just developing as an industry and relatively few photographic images exist. Decker provides very detailed depictions of clothing, even when wrking in water colors. Unfortuntely we hve only found two depictions of children.

Redtenbacher children (1850)

We note a charming portrait of the Redtenbacher children in a park (figure 1). We note nothing about the family. We belive they lived in Vienna and certainly look well-to-do. We do not have the boys' names. Their names are Leo, August, and Alexander. The boys are wearing tunics and dresses. One of the tunics was brown, the other a Scotch plaid. Note the waist cords rather than the more military-looking belts often worn. The portrait suggests that the tunic was an important garment for well to do Austrian children in the mid-19th century. Notice the plain white patalettes nd short striped socks. They are pictured in what looks like a park or grounds for an estate. Thus the outfits can be seen as appropriate for an informal summer outing. We are not sure about the date, but the note on the left margin seems to read 1850.

Unidentified father and son (probably 1840s)

This is an unidentified Decker water-color portrait. We see a destinuished looking farher, presumably living in Vienna. The father wears a a short brown jaket. His trousers match the vest rather than the jacket. He has a black stock as was common at mid-century. His little boys looks to be about 2-years old. He wears a blue checked tunic with white pantalettes. This along with the other Decker portraits suggests that the tunic was a popular boys' garmenbt. He has white ankle socks. If you look in the background, you can see the boy's rather large staw hat, with a hat band to match his tunic.






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Created: 8:42 PM 7/19/2012
Last updated: 6:06 PM 6/30/2015