|Born||February 5, 1808
|Died||September 23, 1885
|Movement||German Romanticism, Biedermeier|
Life and career
He was born in Unterpfaffenhofen, the second of three sons of Franziska (née Schmutzer) and Simon Spitzweg. His father, a wealthy merchant, had Carl trained as a pharmacist. He attained his qualification from the University of Munich but, while recovering from an illness, he also took up painting. Spitzweg was self-taught as an artist, starting out by copying the works of Flemish masters. He contributed his first work to satiric magazines. Upon receiving an inheritance in 1833, he was able to dedicate himself to painting.
Later, Spitzweg visited European art centers in Prague, Venice, Paris, London, and Belgium studying the works of various artists and refining his technique and style. His later paintings and drawings are often humorous genre works. Many of his paintings depict sharply characterized eccentrics, for example The Bookworm (1850) and The Hypochondriac (c. 1865, in the Neue Pinakothek, Munich).
Spitzweg is buried in the Alter Südfriedhof in Munich.
In the late 1930s an art forgery case in Germany involved 54 paintings which had been passed off as Spitzweg originals. They had been painted by a Traunstein copyist named Toni who worked from reproductions and picture postcards. Toni signed the works with his own name as "after Spitzweg", but fraudsters later removed his name and artificially aged the paintings in order to sell them as originals. At the Stuttgart Criminal Court Assizes the conspirators were jailed for up to ten years for the swindle.
- The cactus friend
- The Poor Poet (de)
- Ash Wednesday
- The Bookworm
- The intercepted love letter (de)
- Disputing monks
- Spanish Serenade
- A Woodland Meeting
- Music-making Hermit before his Rocky Abode
- The Mineral-collector in the Grotto
- Schoolchildren in the Woodland
The Bookworm, original 1850, Museum Georg Schäfer. Two other exemplars exist.
The Poor Poet, 1839, Neue Pinakothek
References and sources
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carl Spitzweg.|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1905 New International Encyclopedia article about Carl Spitzweg.|
- Biography and Selected Paintings of Carl Spitzweg
- The Spitzweg Game
- Spitzweg Gallery at MuseumSyndicate
- Milwaukee Art Museum has a large Spitzweg collection
- German masters of the nineteenth century: paintings and drawings from the Federal Republic of Germany, a full text exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which contains material on Carl Spitzweg (no. 87–90)