** artists illustrating Austrian boys fashions: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller








Artists: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (Austria, 1793-1865)



Figure 1.-Another important German-speaking artist is is Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller who was born in Vienna. He mostly painted portraits, landscapes, still life and genre scenes of everyday live. We notice one lovely image of Christmas in Austria with the children who have just woken up and still in their night gowns are checking their shoes to see what Santa brought them. Note the Christmas tree. We are not sure when the painting was done.

Another important German-speaking artist is Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. He was born in Vienna (1793). He was one of the most important Austrian painters of the Biedermeier period. He mostly painted portraits, landscapes, still life and genre scenes of everyday live. He did a notable portrait of famed composer Ludwig von Bethoven in 1823. Some see his genre paintings are rather unrealistically happy others appreciate the nostalgic atmoshere in his paintings. Some compare him to Norman Rockwell in the United States who painted wonderful scenes of an America that probably never quite existed as he depicted it. Waldmüller paintings seem very realistic genre scenes. Mant of his images as they depict family life and even schools feature many children. And the clothing depictions are very detailed and we believe an accurate depiction, many painted before photography appeared or in the very early years of photograph meaning the 1840s. Interestungly, Waldmüller's idelic Normn Rockwell-like images were prized by Adolf Hitler. He was one of Hitler's favorite artists.

Biography

Another important German-speaking artist is Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. He was born in Vienna (1793). We know nothing about his childhood. He is generally described was one of the most important Austrian painters of the Biedermeier period. Waldmüller attended the Academy of fine arts in Viuenna (1807). This was during the chaotic period of the Napolonic Wars. Thus does not seem to have affected hius creer path or his futur artistic wiork. He appears to have had experiences throuout the large Austrian Empire. He moved to Bratislava, part of the Austrian Empire, but today the capital of Slovakia. He was hired to teach art to the children of Count Gyulay in Croatia (1811). He returned to the Academy of Vienna and studied portrait painting. At the time, painting portraits was the primary way an artist could make a living. He married the popular singer Katharina Weidner(1814). He went on tour with her and used his artidtic skills to design her stage sets. He returned to Vienna and hined his skills by copying masterworks (1817). It is at this ime that he began his artistic career. Waldmüller became interested in nature and started painting landscapes. Some art expets believe that these works with impressive detail were his finest woks. Waldmuller's became convinced that a close study of nature should be the foundation painting. He became aprofessor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (1819). He did a notable portrait of famed composer Ludwig von Bethoven, his first important work (1823). His best known for his idealized genre scenes of Austrian peasant life. He also painted portraits, landscapes, and still life. Some see his genre paintings are rather unrealistically happy others appreciate the nostalgic atmoshere in his paintings. Some compare him to Norman Rockwell in the United States who painted wonderful scenes of an America that probably never quite existed as he depicted it. Waldmüller paintings erre done jn a realistic style. Mant of his images as they depict family life and even schools feature many children. And the clothing depictions are very detailed and we believe an accurate depiction, many were painted before photography appeared or in the very early years of photography before photigrphy became meaning the 1840s. This was the era of studio photography. Technolgy did not yet exist to capture the outdoor scenes he depicted. In addition, photography did not bdecome mainstream in Germany as quickly as it did in America. His views on art varied from the Viennese arg establishment. Specifically his ideas on the Academh system were not well received. He wanted to shidt thge focus of curriculum to nature study. The established official doctrines of ideal art at the Vienna Academy was very different. After Waldmüller published his works on art education, he was compled toretire (1857). His banishment did not last long. He was accepted back into the Viennese art commuunity (1863). He was knighted (1865). Waldmüllermastered landscape and tand porraiture. He was able to convincingly render distance and movement as well as textures. He put these skills at work in his many genre depiction of rural everyday peasarnt life. Not only has he left us an impressice body of work, but he influenced a whole generation of German/Austriamn artists. His promotion of natural observation and plein air painting, and critimc of academic painting placed him at the vangurd of Austrian/German painting.

Biedermeier

Biedermeier is a period of Austrian-German art history from the end of the Napoleonic Era (1815) to the mid-century 1848 Revolutions. Some of the best known Biedermeier artists are Jacob von Alt and Carl Spitzweg. The Biedermeier style is characterized by by simplicity and elegance. It is most strongly associated with furniture making and art. Others have extenbded it to music as well, such as the elegant work of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. Art historianns believe that the Biedermeier style had a major influence on the Jugendstil / Art Nouveau, the Bauhaus, and 20th century art. I had thought there was an artist and cabinet maker named Biedermeier. A art historian, however, writes, "There was no Mr. Biedermeier who helped create or produce the new style. In fact the term 'Biedermeier' was not even used when the designs first began It didn't appear until after the Vormarz period, about 1850. It really began as a disparaging label by German intellectuals who looked upon the Vormarz period as one of little emotion, as a passive period. In 1853, a doctor and a district judge began writing satire in the form of verses under the pen name, Gottlieb Biedermeier. 'Gottlieb' means God-loving and Maier" is a very common German surname. The satire was about upright citizens who led simple but unquestioning lives. Later, the early 19th century became known as the era of the Biedermeier - the simple bourgeoisie (middle class). The intent was to make light of the reoccupation with respectability and material values for which the middle class had become known." [Howell] We have archieved some unknown artists who have been described as painting in the Biedermeier style.

Individual Paintings

The way most artists earned a living was obtaining commissions to paint poortaits. And we see many porrtaits he painted in the 1820s. These helped establish his reputatoon. There are many individual portraits and several family portraits providing detailed informtion on the fashions of the well-to-do in Austrian society. His real love, however, appears to be genre painings depicting every day life of the Austrian peasantry with many works showing the children. They are idelic paintings, but they provide wonderful depictions of Austrian village life in the mid-19th century.

Family Odolek (1826)

Waldemüller painted several family prtraits. While we have the dates for those portraits we knowvery loyyle about the family other than the father's family name. Perhps this information exits and we will be abke to add it, but at ths time we have been unable to find it. The family here is the family Odolek. And we know nothing about them. But there are wonderful depiction of popular fashion. Of course we are here talking about the elite of Austrian, probably Vienese, society who could afford a painted portrait from a talented artist. Father seems to be wearing two coats with a high collar. Mother wears a dress with a low neckline and an elaborate curled hairdo that had red bows mixed within the curls. Their two boys who look to be about 3-7 years old wear skeleton suits with elaborate open collars wihout neckwear. Their suits have black jackets and white/tan long pants. The older boy has ringlet curls. The younger boy's hair has not yet been curled.

Family Neuhaus (1827)

Here we know something bout the family. It is the family of Legation councillor Theodor Joseph Ritter von Neuhaus (c1770-1855). Legation councillor we thinks means an importanstaff member at diplomatic post. He is pictured with his wife Albertine and their children Theodor and Berta. The children look to be bout 3-8 yrars old. The portrait was painted in 1827. Farther wears a double-nreasted jacket with a shirt front and long tails. Mother is real fashion plate. Dhe has an amazing straw hat. She had satiny dress with diaphonous sleeves. One thing I find fascinating about woman's fashions is the length we see here thst they went to hide legs but had no problem with low mecklines. Note Berta's pantlettes, but the low necklines on their sresses. Notice how similat the girl's dress is to mother dress. The msjor difference is Berta's the higher hem line, but pantalettes were used to make sure that her legs were covered. Theodor weears a short blue jacket and striped pants. The large open collar is similar to those worn on skeleton suits, but his outfit does not seem to be skeleton suit. This is a little difficult to detrmine because the boy's arm covers the waistline.

Family Eltz: Holiday in the Mountains (1834)

Waldmüller painted a lot of genre images. This painting has the look of a genre image, but is actually a commissioned family portrait. The family is that of Dr. Josef August Eltz in 1834. It is unusual in that most family portrait were painted in or near the home. Here we have the family on vacation in the mountains. The family seems very well dressed for a mountain vacation. In addition to the mountain scenery we have wonderful details on how a well-to-do Austrian family dressed. We are not sure if this was affected by a montain vacation or this was simply their normal every day attire. The adults seem to be wearing normal attire, hardly chosen for outdoor moubtain wear. Dr. Eltz wears a dark coat as was common at the time. He also wears light trousers, and dark cravats for daywear. The women's and girls' sleeves were gigantic, as large as they would ever get--huge gigot sleeves. The boys wear buff-colored belted knee-length tunics with yokes and full sleeves over trousers. We suspect that this was seen as outfits suitable for the nountains and outdoor activities. The girls wear white dresses with colored aprons, again we suspect this was seen as outdoor activity wear--at least for boys in well-to-do families. Waldmüller left us several peasant gebre images nd peasant children clearly do not wear tunics.

Family Gierster (1838)

Here again, we know nothing about the Gierster family. We do know the portrait was taken in 1938. Father looks to be a miltary office. I think he is holding a dress helmet. His wife looks a little miffed, rare in portarits like this. She wears a satiny dress with a low neckline. There are five children about 1-13 years old. There are two boys and two girls, and the baby. The way they are posed, we can only see the outfits of two of the children. The younger boy wears a purple skirted garment. We are not sure if it is a tunic or dress. The girl in front wears a blouse and strapped red skirt. Her hair style is interesting. Notice that the girls have hair styles in which their ears were exposed. We can see that the girl at the back had ringlet curls and a dress with a low neckline.

Village School (1841)

We note another wonderful image, one depictin the children at a village school just as lessons are over. It was done in 1841. The German states along with the United States were leaders in public education. y was the leader in public, but this was primarily Protestant northern Germany.v Waldmüller (1793-1865) painted this study of a rural Austrian school. He was professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He dis a notable painting of the great composer, Ludwig van Beethoven (1823). This painting was "Nach der Schule", i.e. "After school". It was painted in 1841. The school was a village school in rural Austria far from Vienna. The children wear their everyday clothing and all, boys and girls, go barefoot. Notice the girls wear scarves, but the boys all kinds of hzts and caps.

Austrian Peasant Family (1840s?)

Here we can see a young peasant family from a painting by the Austrian painter Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller. We are not sure when the family was painting, probably about the 1840s. Paintings are usually dated so we should eventually be able todate it. We seen four young childen to aboyt 6-7 years of age. Lederhosen and bare feet were the norm for Austrian peasant children. The Lederhosen are the long type mase like 18th century knee breeches. We are not sure just when this image was painted. Flkk clothing styles did not change rapidly like main-stream fashions. The boys are dressed identically. Notice that their H-bar halters are not crossed in the back. Notice thst father and the boys wear identical outfits eceot that father has shoes. The younger firls seems to wear a long green pinafore.

Christmas Morning (1844)

We notice one lovely image of Christmas in Austria--Chrisstagmorgen / Christmas Morning (figure 1). It was painted in 1844. It i a large family and they seem to have a substntial house. We are guessing tht this is a middle-class family. The children have just woken up and still in their night gowns are checking their shoes to see what Santa brought them. Austrian children put their shoes by the window before going to bed. It is a little difficult to see what they got. We se what looks like fruit. One boys seems to hve received nothing, perhos he was naughty. Also notice the Christmas tree. We would have expected a little more filled out Christmas tree in Austria, but this family was perhaps not as well off as some. Given that it is winter in Austria, we wonder just how long they kept the window open.

NAZI Looted Art

Interestungly, Waldmüller's idelic Norman Rockwell-like images were prized by Adolf Hitler. He was one of Hitler's favorite artists. Jews were an imprtnt part of th Vienese art world and owned many imprtant paintingds, including paintings by Waldmüller. When the NAZIs seized Austria as part of the Anschluss (1938), many of these paintings were seized by the NAZIs. Several including the Waldmüllers were channeled to Hitler’s Führer Museum in Linz. Claims for restitution of looted Wadlmüller artworks are still beding pursued.







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Created: August 9, 2003
Last updated: 11:07 PM 6/25/2021