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Permanent Collection


Georg Johann Seitz

(Nuremberg?, 1810 − Vienna, 1870)

Flowers in a Blue Vase and Fruit
oil, canvas, 55 x 44,5 cm
signed lower right, on table edge: G. Seitz

N 9843, ZD S 1997060, National Museum of Slovenia
The artist signed these two paintings and they are probably from a late period in his development. They are typical of the still lifes which were popular at the time of the Biedermeier and remained so right up to the last quarter of the 19th century. There is a touch of academism in them, which is also evident in the stereotype repetition of the same slab of marble with an arrangement of fruit or a vase with pretty, unpretentious flowers. The compositional formula, which was decisive in these paintings, was introduced at the beginning of the 19th century in Vienna, later emulators repeated it almost up to the eve of World War I.

Restored: 1987, Kemal Selmanović.
Provenance: Unknown. FCC ca. 1945.
Exhibition: 1989, Ljubljana, No. 62.
Lit.: Zeri and Rozman 1989, pp. 106, 152, Cat. No. 62, Fig. 63.

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.