Rediscovered: Nineteenth Century German Painting in Victoria’s Public Collections 

Dr Beatrix Ahrens, University of Freiburg, Germany

Heinrich Burkel 'Charcol burning in a wintery landscape', 1835. Ballarat Art Gallery, Gift of Mrs. I. Main-Rippin, 1932.

It seems like nowhere else outside Europe German paintings of the second half of the 19th century have been as popular as in Victoria. From the 1870s to the 1890s a surprisingly large number of German paintings were imported to Australia, yet many of these works of art have never been adequately researched. They often lie undiscovered in storage, some paintings are even threatened by decay. This lecture, for the first time, gives an overview of German 19th century paintings in Victorian public collections. The term ‘German paintings’ refers to paintings by German-speaking artists and also includes paintings by artists who migrated to Australia. The starting point of my lecture is the historical environment that influenced the collection of German paintings in Australia. Important aspects are the emigration of German artists from the middle of the 19th century, the beginning of the international art trade in Melbourne and the acquisition of German paintings by the State Library of Victoria, the National Gallery of Victoria and the regional galleries of Ballarat, Bendigo and Warrnambool. Information will be given on a selection of 19th century paintings of German origin such as Franz Hochmann’s Horsemarket in a German village, on display at Bendigo Art Gallery.

Dr Beatrix Ahrens is an art historian doing a post doctoral fellowship at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and taught at the University of Melbourne during her 3 year stay in Melbourne.

Date: Tuesday 13 December 2011, 3:30-5:00pm

Venue: Room 506 Babel Building, University of Melbourne

Enquiries:  Dr Leo Kretzenbacher