With this retrospective, the first of its kind to be presented in a French museum, the Louvre
, in association with the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, invites visitors to discover the work of Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. Although little known in France, this artist had a profound impact on nineteenth-century Austrian painting. A master of many genres (portraits, landscapes, scenes from everyday life, open-air paintings, and even still lifes), Waldmüller favors rigorous realism. However, this scrupulous quest for exactitude does not detract from the discreet, pervasive and satisfying harmony of his paintings.
Apart from his meticulous bent for observation, Waldmüller is also esteemed for his knowledge of nature, his taste for detail, his treatment of light and his talent as a colorist. A key figure in Austrian painting, who taught for a number of years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and then pursued a career mainly as a portrait
artist, Waldmüller was a leading representative of the Biedermeier style. Examples of this influence include his landscapes and scenes of everyday life, celebrating the materialistic values, refinement and elegance of the bourgeoisie of the time, but also his portraits and still lifes. A proponent of realism and exactitude, Waldmüller paints landscapes without any mythological embellishments, dramatization or other ornamentation.
This exhibition, consisting of some forty works, mainly from the collections of the Belvedere Museum in Vienna but including treasures from private collections as well, some of which have never before been seen by the public, traces Waldmüllers entire artistic career, his rigorous realism in the depiction of a society transformed by the upheavals of 1848aristocrats, bourgeoisie and peasants are featured together in these paintingshis modernity and his keen interest in photography (which played a central role in his life work). The exhibition also underscores Waldmüller as a key influence on the Pre-Raphaelite painters in England who, in the middle of the 19th century, favored greater spontaneity in their art and a stronger connection with nature, as well as his impact, in the early 20th century, on the artists of the Secession movement who sought, particularly in Austria and Germany, to react against official art.
The exhibition was curated by Élisabeth Foucart-Walter, Senior Curator, Department of Paintings, Musée du Louvre, and Sabine Grabner, Curator, Nineteenth-Century Paintings, Belvedere Museum, Vienna.
This exhibition will be presented, in a larger version (about 100 works) at the Belvedere Museum, Vienna, June 9October 11, 2009.