Biedermeier Painting in Hamburg

The period of time between Napoleon's defeat and the 1848 revolution is known as the Biedermeier era. It was a period when the bourgeoisie in Germany gained more economical and cultural freedom and finally aspired to have their say in political matters. The beautiful, simple furniture of the Biedermeier aera is well-known, less so the painting of the period.

At that time painting was indeed flourishing in many places, among them Munich, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Hamburg. The Hamburg Kunsthalle owns the best and most important paintings created by Hamburg artists of the time, most of which were acquired by the first Director of the Kunsthalle, Alfred Lichtwark, around 1900. These works will now be on show again in this exhibition.

Portraits of famous men and unknown women will be shown alognside depictions of family life. Erwin Speckter, Julius Oldach, Victor Emil Janssen and many other painters were friends and liked to portrait each other. These friendship paintings show a new self-assurance on the part of the artists, even if they remain true to their bourgeois origins and aim to appeal to bourgeois tastes.

No less impressive than the portraits are the landscapes by Hamburg's Biedermeier painters. Friedrich Wasmann, Christian Morgenstern, Jacob Gensler and their friends painted their first hand view from nature of their north German homeland and the Scandinavian countries. Some - like Louis Gurlitt - were drawn to Italy, and painted the countryside around Rome.

A catalogue containing 64 colour illustrations and explanatory texts will accompany the exhibition.