Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)


Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

19.09.08 - 02.11.08


Wilhelm Leibl studied in Munich 1864 -1868. From the start he tended to think of his pictures in terms of form rather than content. He is mainly known for his realist genre paintings of peasants and his meticulous draftsmanship, which is notable for its directness and objectivity. Leibl was greatly admired by his contemporaries for his commitment to representation of reality as the eye sees it, and he soon became the centre of a group retrospectively referred to as the Leibl-Circle. Later, his work was embraced by the New Objectivity movement which arose in Germany during the Weimar Republic. His style was based on a direct, careful recording of nature, objects, figures, and situations. Albeit not overtly political yet uncompromising in stance, his work is little known today.
In his paintings, he was always careful to avoid expressing a division into categories or roles. He consistently painted people employed in mundane activities such as knitting, smoking a pipe or simply thinking. Paying careful attention to their expression he would also represent people through fragments especially hands. The quality of his paintings lies in the technique rather than the status of the sitter or the grandeur of the landscape.
Even though he enjoyed considerable success Leibl found it hard to make a living and was often out of favour with the opulent and historicising taste then dominating German art. He had some of his greatest success in France where he travelled to upon the invitation from Gustave Courbet. He had seen Leibl’s painting Portrait of Misses Gedon (1869) at the Grosse Internationale Kunstausstellung and singled it out as the best painting in the exhibition.
Later in life Leibl moved away from the art world of Munich altogether and lived in a number of villages in rural Bavaria involving himself in the local communities. He spent the last 27 years of his life studying nature and peasant life.
The show also includes one painting by Leibl’s life long friend and part time collaborator Johann Sperl (1840-1914) Plants by the Wayside (undated). Opposite this painting is the photograph Wilhelm Leibl painting (2002) by Wolfgang Tillmans. This ‘portrait of a portrait’ features the painting Bauernjunge (1876/77) and was the beginning of Tillman’s investigation into Wilhelm Leibl’s work, which has now amounted to this exhibition. 

‘I paint people the way they are, their soul is already there anyway’
(Wilhelm Leibl)


 



Installation view

Wiese mit Kindern / Meadow with Children
, 1875/77
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Der Raucher (Bildnis des Malers Horstig) / The Smoker (Portrait of the Painter Horstig), 1873/74
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Bildnis eines Knaben / Portrait of a Boy, 1874
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Bäuerin in karierter Jacke / Peasant woman in checkered Jacket, 1875/77
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Der grosse Baum / The big Tree, 1874/75
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Bildnis der Therese Bauer / Portrait of Therese Bauer, 1875/77
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt





Installation view

Zwei Hände mit stock / Two Hands with walking stick, undated
Oil on canvas
Private collection, London

Portrait (Aibling), undated
Pencil on paper
Collection Daniel Buchholz and Christopher Müller, Cologne





Installation view

Wolfgang Tillmans, Wilhelm Leibl painting, 2002
C-print

Zwei Hände mit stock / Two Hands with walking stick, undated
Oil on canvas
Private collection, London

Portrait (Aibling), undated
Pencil on paper
Collection Daniel Buchholz and Christopher Müller, Cologne




Installation view

Der grosse Baum / The big Tree, 1874/75
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Bildnis der Therese Bauer / Portrait of Therese Bauer, 1875/77
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Wolfgang Tillmans, Wilhelm Leibl painting, 2002
C-print





Installation view

Wiese mit Kindern / Meadow with Children
, 1875/77
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Der Raucher (Bildnis des Malers Horstig) / The Smoker (Portrait of the Painter Horstig), 1873/74
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt

Bildnis eines Knaben / Portrait of a Boy, 1874
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt





Installation view

Zwei Hände mit stock / Two Hands with walking stick, undated
Oil on canvas
Private collection, London

Portrait (Aibling), undated
Pencil on paper
Collection Daniel Buchholz and Christopher Müller, Cologne




Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

Wiese mit Kindern / Meadow with Children, 1875/77
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt


Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

Der Raucher (Bildnis des Malers Horstig) / The Smoker (Portrait of the Painter Horstig), 1873/74
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt


Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

Bildnis eines Knaben / Portrait of a Boy, 1874
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt


Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

Der grosse Baum / The big Tree
, 1874/75
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt


Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

Bildnis der Therese Bauer / Portrait of Therese Bauer, 1875/77
Etching on paper
Private collection, Frankfurt


Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

Johann Sperl (1840-1914), Pflanzen am Wegesrand / Weeds by the Wayside
, undated
Oil on canvas
Private collection, London


Wilhelm Leibl (1844 - 1900)

Wolfgang Tillmans, Wilhelm Leibl painting, 2002
C-print


 


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