Caroline Therese Friedrich (German 1848 - 1914). Still life of Vase with Lunaria seed pods, Chinese lantern, books, vase, paintings and artist’s brushes. Oil on panel. “Signed C Friedrich” and “Wien” upper right. Bundesdenkmalamt (specialist authority that receives, protects, cares for and researches the cultural heritage of Austria) stamp verso. 13in x 16.5in (33.5cm x 42cm) sight (visible painting) 16.5in x 20.5in (42cm x 52cm) frame.
Exceptional attention to detail, perspective and light and shadow combine to create the high degree of realism apparent in this painting.
CONDITION: The varnish layer fluoresces opaque under ultraviolet light but no apparent restoration found. Some craquelure corresponding to grain of panel. Clean and ready to hang.
BIOGRAPHY: Née Lehmann, Caroline Friedrich married in to a family of artists: Her husband was the portrait and genre painter, Gustav Friedrich, son of painter, engraver, and draughtsman, Caspar David Friedrich. Caroline and Gustav’s own son, Harald Friedrich, was also a painter of portraits, landscapes and still lifes, and later became a Professor in Hanover.
It is thought Caroline Friedrich was likely taught by her husband: The strictures sometimes associated with the traditions learnt with an art academy degree of the time are not apparent, and there is a freedom to her works. There is, nonetheless, a graphic precision; a sympathy with colour; an acuteness in her observation of the natural world. Some have suggested inspiration from the great Dutch still life masters, such as Jan van Huysum, in that her treatment of flowers, for example, is less for the codes they often carried, and more for their likeness both in and to life. Still lifes, portraits of the months and seasons, are key features of her work.
In her lifetime, Caroline Friedrich exhibited, and sold, her paintings alongside Gustav and Harald, famously via the Saxon Kunstverein, which also acquired some of her works. This was, and remains, testimony to an artist whose sex deprived her of chances assumed by her contemporaries within a male-dominated system of education and appreciation. Caroline Friedrich’s work demonstrates that that artistic talent and dedication can produce accomplished work, despite prevailing political or social restrictions, that continues to be appreciated over 100 years later.
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