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Art in Slovenia

Friedrich Gauermann - Biedermeier and Romanticism

(Miesenbach, 1807 – Vienna, 1862)

Born 1807 in Miesenbach, died 1862 in Vienna. His father Jakob, who was also a painter, encouraged him and he began painting from nature at a very early age. From 1824 to 1827 he was a pupil of Josef Mössmer at the Viennese Academy, in the landscape department. His older brother Carl was also a student at the Academy. His models among the old painters were Paul Potter and Jacob van Ruisdael. Alone and with colleagues from the Academy he went painting in the environs of the Schneeberg, a mountain in Lower Austria, and in the Salzkammergut. In 1827 he copied Ruisdael in Dresden, in 1829 he was in Munich, with his brother-in-law Josef Höger, Franz Steinfeld and Johann Fischbach he was active in Salzburg. In 1836 he became a member of the Viennese Academy, in 1838 and 1843 he visited Venice, Milan and the Tyrol. He had friends among his fellow painters and Viennese literary figures, such as Johann Nestroy and Ferdinand Raimund. Gauermann depicted life on the farms and in mountain areas, fights between animals and hunting scenes which extended his fame also beyond the borders of Austria.

Lit.: Ruprecht Feuchtmüller, Friedrich Gauermann: 1807-1862, Rosenheim 1987; Gerbert Frodl, Wiener Malerei der Biedermeierzeit, Rosenheim 1987, pp. 249-250, passim.
Biedermeier and Romanticism
Heavily censored public life between the Congress of Vienna and the Spring of Nations in 1848, weakened Church patronage, and the ascending middle class marked the era when life focused on the privacy of the family circle, individual dignity and the sense of belonging; this is expressed in the Central European art as the style of Biedermeier which coexisted with a Romantic view of nature. 

Portraiture was the genre of painting that saw its heyday in this era. Matevž Langus, Jožef Tominc, Mihael Stroj and Anton Karinger established themselves as individually formed portraitists who demonstrated their self-confidence as artists also through their self-portraits. The painters initially relied on formal characteristics of Neoclassicism. Stroj’s late portraits and particularly those by Karinger abandoned the Biedermeier manner and adopted a more realistic approach. 

Interest in landscape first appeared as the background of portraits; towards the mid-century first autonomous city vedute emerged. The Biedermaier landscape is idyllic, descriptive, and furnished with staffage figures. Painters were attracted by tourist destinations and locations that were related to homeland identity: Mt. Triglav, Lake Bohinj, Bled. Anton Karinger and Marko Pernhart established themselves as explicit landscapists. The latter became famous for his multi-part panoramas from mountain peaks. 

Still lifes became an attractive decoration of a middle-class home, and they also found favour with amateur women painters, one of whom was Countess Maria Auersperg Attems.