Conrad Beckmann (German, 1846 – 1902)

The Champion

Conrad Beckmann (German, 1846 – 1902) “The Champion”

Oil on Canvas 44 x 62 inches

Conrad or Konrad Beckmann was a German painter, draughtsman and illustrator born in Hanover on 21 June 1846, he died in Munich on 3 January 1902.

Conrad Beckmann studied art in Hanover, alongside the famous history painters Friedrich Wilhelm the German and August Klemme for painting, and Conrad Wilhelm Hase for architecture.

He joined the Willingshausen Malerkolonie, one of the oldest artists’ associations in Europe. The latter’s genre paintings and pastoral scenes greatly inspired our artist, who often took up the same subjects in his art.

From 1868 to 1871, Conrad Beckmann completed his artistic training in Munich, studying under Karl von Piloty.

In order to support himself, but also to make a name for himself, he worked for newspapers as an illustrator. He published drawings for the Fliegenden Blätter, the humorous Münchener Bilderbogen and the Gartenlaube.

In 1878, he published a series of drawings on the characters of Fritz Reuters, one of the best-known German authors of the time. He also illustrated Charles Dickens’ The Cricket on the Hearth.

In 1883 he carried out public commissions, including some murals for Wernigerode Castle dating from 1883.

Conrad Beckmann is an artist who is not well known to the general public, and his works are rare in auction rooms.

One of the most emblematic works of his art is Nachtquartiereinladungan eine schauspielergruppe, or The Invitation of a Group of Actors to a Nighttime Neighborhood, executed in 1890, which blends the classicism of nineteenth-century art with more distant influences, such as Rembrandt and other masters of seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting. This inspiration can be seen in the ochre tones and the location of the scene, as well as in the chiaroscuro effects and in details such as the oriental headdress worn by one of the central figures.

Uncle’s Wedding, also painted in the 1890s, is evidence of the wave of naturalism in which Conrad Beckmann’s works were embedded. From then on, the anecdote of small provincial towns or the life of peasants took precedence over historical or antique scenes. Thus, the artist gives primary importance to the motif, to nature as it is, and was undoubtedly influenced by the first steps of photography.

Conrad Beckmann died in Munich on 3 January 1902 at the age of 56.