Eduard Theodor Ritter von Grützner (1846 – 1925)

Monk Testing the Vintage

Eduard Theodor Ritter von Grützner (1846 – 1925)

Eduard Theodor Ritter von Grützner (May 26, 1846 – April 2, 1925), “Monk Testing the Vintage”, was a German painter and professor of art especially noted for his genre paintings of monks.

Grützner, along with Carl Spitzweg and Franz von Defregger, were Munich’s leading genre painters in the second half of the 19th century.  The paintings Grützner is best known for combine detailed academic rendering with humorous and anecdotal subject matter, often depicting monks drinking.

Grützner was born in 1846 into a farming family in Groß-Karlowitz near Neisse, Upper Silesia, Prussia (now Poland). The local pastor often visited his parents’ home, as his father was a prominent member of the church. He recognized early on Eduard’s talent and inclination for painting. Even as a child he drew on everything that fell into his hands. The administrator of a ducal country house in the neighborhood got him paper, and eventually the pastor gained him entrance to the Gymnasium (a university preparatory school) of Neisse, and brought him in 1864 with the help of an architect Hirschberg for art education at the private school of Herman Dyck in Munich.

His tenure at the Kunstgewerbeschule under Hermann Dyck, however, was only of short duration. In the first semester he transferred to the Classical Art class of Johann Georg Hiltensperger and Alexander Ströhuber, where the students learned about the aesthetic ideals of antiquity.

In 1865, Grützner joined the painting class of Hermann Anschütz at the Munich Academy. Meanwhile, he also sought advice and inspiration from Carl Theodor von Piloty until he was taken into his class in 1867. Piloty’s class was packed with aspiring artists from around the world, from Hungary, Greece, Germany, Russia, and Poland. After three years under Piloty, Grützner left the academy.

In 1870, he moved into his own studio in the garden house of Schwanthalerstraße 18 in Munich. He quickly began to produce one painting after another. He made his career in Munich and was very successful. It was reported by artist and writer Friedrich Pecht in the journal Die Kunst für Alle (Art for All) in 1886: “the painters Eduard Grützner and Ludwig Willroider were granted the title of ‘professor’ by Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria“. In 1880, he was awarded the Order of Merit of St. Michael (Knight’s Cross) first class. He was knighted in 1916.

Grützner was an avid collector of art. Early on, he favored pieces from the German late Gothic and early Renaissance. In the last decade of his life, he turned from the late Middle Ages and collected art from the Far East. In his major compositions, however, he almost always included old pieces, mostly from his antique collection.

In 1874, Grützner married Barbara Link, who two years later bore him a daughter, whom they named Barbara. In 1884, after ten years of marriage, his first wife died. In 1888, he became engaged to Anna Grützner Wirthmann, the daughter of a Munich garrison commander, and a short time later their son Karl Eduard was born. This second marriage was less harmonious and eventually his wife, who was some 17 years younger, left him for a Viennese singer.

In his old age he sought solace in Chinese philosophy, and began to collect items from the far east and learn Japanese. Occasionally he included a Buddha figure or a Chinese vase in some of his paintings. He also painted a number of ascetic-looking cardinals, often with harsh and unsympathetic features. He died on April 2, 1925 in Munich.

Grützner was, along with Carl Spitzweg and Franz von Defregger, one of Munich’s leading genre painters in the second half of the 19th century. The paintings of Grützner are best known for their combination of detailed academic rendering with humorous and anecdotal subject matter, often depicting monks drinking.

Grützner was one of Hitler‘s favorite painters, Albert Speer quoting him as saying of one of the artist’s works that he was “greatly underrated… Believe me, this Grützner will someday be worth as much as a Rembrandt. Rembrandt himself couldn’t have painted that better.”

Carl Eckerler (German, 1852-1926)

Carl Eckerler (German, 1852-1926), Soldier at Home, oil on canvas, signed and dated ‘Carl Eckerler’ and ‘Munchen 80’ on lower right, 46 ” x  37-1/8″, framed 50″ x 41-5/8 “



Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (French 1758 – 1823)


Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (April 4, 1758 – February 16, 1823), “Temptation”

French draftsman and painter whose work bridges the Neoclassical spirit of the late 18th century and the more personal expression of 19th-century Romanticism.

After training at Dijon, France, Prud’hon went to Rome (1784), where he became acquainted with the Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova and admired the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Correggio. The latter particularly inspired him to introduce a softer, more sensual effect into French painting, which was then dominated by the austere sculptural style of Jacques-Louis David.

At first Prud’hon survived by drawing for engravers and painting portraits. Brought to the attention of Napoleon, he was employed intermittently as court portraitist and decorator. One of his best-known works, the Portrait of the Empress Joséphine (1805), was influenced by Canova and Correggio and possesses his characteristic seductive mildness and the vaguely romantic, mysterious quality that he invested in his portraits of women.

Prud’hon achieved fame and honor with an allegorical work, Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime (1808). The elegance, fancy, and grace of his work, reminiscent of the pre-Revolutionary era, prompted David to compare him unfavorably with the Rococo master François Boucher. Because of his imperfect understanding of the aging of pigment, Prud’hon’s paintings have darkened badly. His drawings, however, retain their exceptional qualities. Shock resulting from the suicide of his mistress, Constance Mayer, in 1821 is believed to have hastened his death.


After Adriaen van der Werff (Florence, Circa 1770)


Unsigned – Florence Circa 1770, “Allegorical Scene”, After Adriaen van der Werff’s “The Expulsion of Hagar

Adriaen van der Werff (1659 – 1722) was an accomplished Dutch painter of portraits and erotic, devotional and mythological scenes.

Marcus C. Stone (British 1840 – 1921)


Marcus C. Stone (British 1840 – 1921), “Couple on a Bench”, preliminary painting for later larger rendition called “A Stolen Kiss”. Son of Frank Stone, ARA, was trained by his father and began to exhibit at the Academy before he was eighteen; and a few years later he illustrated with much success books by Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and other writers, friends of his family. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1877, and academician in 1887. In his earlier pictures he dealt much with historical incidents, but in his later work he occupied himself chiefly with a particular type of dainty sentiment, treated with much charm, refinement and executive skill.

John W. Lighton (English 1822 – 1912)


 John W. Lighton (1822 – 1912) – Rider and Girl – Flirtation –  A pair of paintings

Artist notable for his book illustrations and book cover designs. His talent for desgn found early expression in the publication Suggestions in Design for the Use of Artists and Art Workmen (1852). This was a work that expounded Leighton’s values and beliefs with regard to the history of design. He used the ornaments and designs repeatedly in the thiry years after its publication with regard to illustrations within books, and for many hundreds of drawings for book cover designs.

John W. Lighton (English 1822 – 1912)


John W. Lighton – Flirtation – Sailor Girl – A pair of paintings (1 of 2)

An English artist notable for his book illustrations and book cover designs. His talent for desgn found early expression in the publication Suggestions in Design for the Use of Artists and Art Workmen (1852). This was a work that expounded Leighton’s values and beliefs with regard to the history of design. He used the ornaments and designs repeatedly in the thiry years after its publication with regard to illustrations within books, and for many hundreds of drawings for book cover designs.

Fredericus Brolius

Frederics Brolius – “Crucifixion, The Descent from the Cross , or Deposition of Christ” – circa 1640, oil on copper, Antwerp School

As depicted in art, from the Gospels’ accounts of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus taking Christ down from the cross after his crucifixion (John 19:38-42). In Byzantine art the topic became popular in the 9th century, and in the West from the 10th century. The Descent from the Cross is the 13th Station of the Cross.Other figures not mentioned in the Gospels who are often included in depictions of this subject include St. John the Evangelist, who is sometimes depicted supporting a fainting Mary, and Mary Magdalene. The Gospels mention an undefined number of women as watching the crucifixion, including the Three Marys, (Mary Salome being mentioned in Mark 15:40), and also that the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene saw the burial (Mark 15:47). These and further women and unnamed male helpers are often shown.

Douglas Anderson (1934-?)


Douglas Anderson, Scottish, (1934-?), “The Fox Cub”

Elected into the prestigious Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 1961, Anderson painted the queen a second time in 1964, as well as the Queen Mother and the Duchess of Gloucester, and in 1991, he painted Princess Diana.

At the age of 27, Anderson was the youngest person at the time to be elected to the royal society, an English portrait group, he said. “It’s very old, rather like a club, and its patron is the monarch,” Anderson said of the society that allows a maximum of 37 members.

Anderson said he started painting when he was about 4. “I have pictures I painted in 1938,” he said. “My father was a very good amateur painter. I used to watch him, and he used to teach me.”

At 13, Anderson left Scotland to attend Eton, a school in England. “I studied some painting there, but not too much,” he said. “It muddled up with what my father taught me.”

Remaining true to his father’s method, Anderson went to Italy to study with Pietro Annigoni, who was then known for his portrait and fresco work, said Anderson. “(Annigoni) put the polish on it,” he said, referring to his father’s technique.

“There were about five of us who studied with him during that two-year period,” which lasted from 1955 to 1957.

“I fell in love with (Italy) when I was a young man,” Anderson said. “I

went out practically every succeeding year, and bought a place in 1972.” He now lives in Palaia, Italy.

After nearly 20 years of painting portraits, Anderson returned to landscape and wildlife work in 1977. He said today he alternates between portraiture and nature scenes.

Cesare Auguste Detti, (1847 Italy -1914 France)

IMG_5144 WEB

Cesare Auguste Detti, (1847 Italy -1914 France), Swiss Guard, oil on canvas, 9″ x 12″

Cesare Agostino Detti (1847 – 1914)

Like most of the Italian peninsula in the nineteenth century, the Umbrian city of Spoleto was actively involved in the Risorgimento, the political and cultural movement for Italian unification. Inspired by the progressive ideals of the eighteenth century and the romantic nationalism of the 1820s and 1830s, the people took to the streets in 1848 to proclaim Italy a unified nation, no longer separated into small dominions based on historically defined boundaries. It was into this environment that Cesare Augusto Detti was born to Annunziata Vannini and Davide Detti on November 28, 1847, scarcely more than a month before the first of the revolutionary actions began. Against the backdrop of this populist political struggle, Detti enjoyed a comfortable childhood with parents who encouraged his interest in art.

His father, although an engineer by training and practice, was also an amateur painter; he may have been instrumental in introducing his teenage son to Francesco Coghetti, a visiting artist from Rome who was working on designs at the Spoleto Teatro Nuovo (New Theatre) in 1861. Coghetti was also a professor at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, and probably suggested that the young Detti consider pursuing his art education there. In 1862, at age fifteen, he did exactly that. By the time that Detti arrived in Rome, Italy had finally achieved its hard-won unification; only two regions, Venice and Rome, remained under control of other governments, (the Austrian Empire in Venice and the Pope in Rome) but both cities would be independent by 1866 and 1870 respectively. Detti studied at the Accademia for four years, graduating from the program in 1866 and embarking on his career at a time when fresh aesthetic ideas were an integral element in the newly-formed nation.

Detti’s years at the Accademia brought him into contact with a wide variety of artists, both fellow students and more well established figures such as the Catalan painter Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838-1874), who welcomed the young painter into the Spanish art colony in the city. By the 1860s when Detti met him, Fortuny’s career was increasingly international and somewhat experimental. He had traveled extensively in North Africa and France, and perhaps more significantly, had spent time in Florence where the avant-garde painters known as the Macchiaioli were introducing aesthetic concepts similar to those of the Impressionists in Paris. In 1866 Fortuny broadened his scope beyond Italy and Spain when he signed a contract with the Paris art dealer, Adolphe Goupil (1806-1893), a decision that would also prove to be instrumental in Detti’s career a decade later.

After graduation in 1866, Detti followed Fortuny’s example in traveling extensively to absorb new landscapes, new cities and new ideas. He spent considerable time in Naples in the late 1860s, and was included in an exhibition there in 1872. It was most likely during these years that he was introduced to the work of the engraver and illustrator, Bartolomeo Pinelli (1771-1835), in particular to his Costumes of the Kingdom of Naples, a series of 50 copperplate engravings published in 1828. In these images, Pinelli illustrated both costumes and customs in great detail; typically, his carefully delineated figures dominate the engravings so that an attentive viewer can fully appreciate the intricacies of the clothing. As Detti defined his own aesthetic direction during the 1860s and 70s, he focused more and more on costumed genre painting that clearly owes a debt to Pinelli’s engravings as well as Fortuny’s meticulous realism.

During the early 1870s Detti continued to base his career in Rome, but in 1876, he visited Paris, and it was at that point that he met Adolphe Goupil, one of the leading art dealers in Paris. Soon after that meeting, Detti’s paintings were on display in the gallery on the Boulevard Montmartre and they were also being transformed into engravings that Goupil could market to a middle-class audience. Detti’s association with Goupil introduced him to yet another group of artists, including Giuseppe De NIttis (1846-1884) and Ignacio de Leon y Escosura (1834-1901), both of whom were also represented by Goupil & Cie. Like Detti, their contracts called for them to paint a variety of genre scenes that would appeal to bourgeois art lovers who preferred images on a scale that would fit into their homes.

This type of painting was inspired in part by eighteenth century rococo paintings of both rural and urban daily life; however, nineteenth century artists such as Detti incorporated new elements reflecting the Realist movement of the 1850s and 60s in both subject matter and style. A painting such as Flowers for Her Ladyship depict a cavalier presenting a bouquet to an elaborated gowned woman, but the setting for this encounter looks more like an overwrought rococo revival room than an elegant eighteenth century interior; and that sense of humor is part of the appeal.  In a more modern mode, Detti also painted works such as Varnishing Day, a painting that shows contemporary Parisians witnessing the final varnishing of oil paintings just days before the opening of the annual Salon. Canvases like this give the viewer a glimpse of real life in the late 1870s very much in the naturalist style of forward-looking artists throughout Europe.

Detti seems to have settled comfortably into life in Paris. He exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français beginning in 1877, showing La Cinquantaini (Golden Wedding Anniversary) that year, and in 1878 exhibiting La Rixe (The Brawl) at the Exposition Universelle. In addition, his work came to the attention of William Henry Vanderbilt, the American railroad tycoon, who purchased a number of Detti’s paintings directly from the artist. It was probably his meeting with Juliette-Emilie Filieuse, however, that persuaded Detti to remain in France permanently. He had met Mlle Filieuse through her brother Augustine, and married her in 1880. In quick succession over the next few years, they had two daughters and a son, and in 1883, the family moved to the village of Marlotte outside of Paris.

The decade of the 1880s was one of expansion in Detti’s career. He undertook at least two book illustration projects for the publishing firm of Firmin. The first was the 1886 edition of Sir Walter Scott’s The Abbot (published as L’Abbé in French) first published in 1820; and the second was an 1888 edition of Scott’s The Fair Maid of Perth (La Jolie Fille de Perth) which was originally published in 1828. With his skill at depicting costume pieces from historical eras, it is not surprising that Detti would have been asked to design illustrations for these romantic English novels.

Detti’s connection with England also took the form of participation in the Italian Exhibition in London in 1888. This exhibition was a smaller version of the mammoth world fairs that had mesmerized the public since 1851. It was developed by a group of English businessmen and, like the world fairs, was intended to be a showcase for modern industrial designs and cultural displays. In this case, the sponsors held four national exhibitions in London from 1887 to 1891 (American, Italian, French and German respectively). [i] Detti’s participation in this exhibition may have been encouraged by his friend Ignacio de Leon y Escosura, who seems to have been actively involved in several other international exhibitions, including the Exposition Universelle in London (1874) and Berlin, (1886); he would later be the artistic delegate for Spain at the Worlds’ Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Detti himself was appointed as vice-president of the Italian committee for the spectacular Paris fair in 1889 at which the Eiffel Tower made its debut; that year he also won a bronze medal for painting. At the next grand Exposition universelle in Paris (1900), Detti would win a silver medal for his painting of La Tricheur (The Cheat).

The continuing success of Detti’s painting was reflected in his annual participation in the Paris salon exhibitions, both the Salon des Artistes Français and the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-arts. Equally popular with Italian art collectors, Detti was honored in 1894 when his hometown of Spoleto presented him with a medal and a scroll acknowledging his contributions to contemporary art.[ii]

The first decade of the twentieth century was one of travel, with trips to Buenos Aires and a tour through the United States between 1906 and 1910. On returning to Europe, Detti journeyed through Spain and Italy, painting his favorite locales and undoubtedly seeing old friends as much as possible. With the outbreak of World War I, the government of France required that most non-French residents return to their home countries, and since it is not yet known whether Detti became a French citizen, it is possible that he had no choice but to return to Italy during the war. In any case, he was working in Rome in 1914 when he received a call that his son was seriously ill; he returned immediately to France to take care of his responsibilities there. Unfortunately, he himself died on May 19, 1914 and is buried in the family plot in Marlotte.

Janet L. Whitmore, Ph.D.

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