Baltimore Art Collector Discovers Unknown Painting by Famous 19th-century German Artist

Share Article

The recent discovery of an early painting of German genre painter Carl Wilhelm Hübner in a Baltimore County private archive opens up new perspectives on student customs on German universities in the 19th century.

An unknown painting from the formative period of the German Romantic painter Carl Wilhelm Hübner was recently discovered in the art collection of a private fencing history archive in Baltimore, Maryland.

The oil painting measures 46.5 cm by 60.5 cm and depicts a pair of fencers in the costumes of the early 19th century.

Hübner (born June 17, 1814 in Königsberg; died Dec. 5, 1879 in Düsseldorf, Germany) was a German genre and landscape painter of the Romantic period. He studied under Wilhelm von Schadow and Carl Ferdinand Sohn at the famous Düsseldorf Academy and is considered the pre-eminent representative of the Düsseldorf School (Düsseldorfer Malerschule).

Hübners main works are oil paintings depicting scenes of human and social conflict, from the everyday life of thieves, smugglers, poachers, and emigrants. His most famous work is The Silesian Weavers (Die schlesischen Weber), in which the great social and political conflicts of the 19th century find expression.

The theme of the recently discovered painting has no parallels in the serious visual arts of 19th-century Germany: The central pair of fencers is armed with bell-guard cutting rapiers (Glockenschläger). This kind of sword was used almost exclusively among German fraternity students at universities east of the River Elbe. Anglo-American popular opinion associates these fraternities mostly with Heidelberg, although they are common at all German, Austrian and Swiss universities.

The painting was purchased from an antiquarian book dealer in eastern Germany in 2006. During cleaning and restoration work, the restorer identified the artist’s signature as Hübner’s. Earlier this year, the painting was positively identified and ascribed to Hübner’s opus by Hübner expert Dr. Lilian Landes of the Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany.

Baltimore-based Secret Archives Press LLC has been commissioned to produce limited edition reproductions of the painting on canvas.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

J. Christoph Amberger
Visit website