Wednesday, September 12, 2012


1 - Still life: Excess
2 - LePetit Chaperon rouge
3 - Daughter Louise
4 - Rudy eating
5 - Self-portrait in profile, left (1891)



Albert Samuel Anker (1831–1910) was a Swiss painter and illustrator who has been called the "National Painter" of Switzerland because of his enduringly popular depictions of 19th-century Swiss village life.

Born in INS as the son of veterinarian Samuel Anker (then a member of the constituent assembly of the Canton of Bern), Anker attended school in Neuchâtel, where he and Auguste Bachelin, later a fellow artist, took early drawing lessons with Louis Wallinger in 1845–48.
In 1849–51, he attended the Gymnasium Kirchenfeld in Bern, graduating with the Matura.
Afterwards, he studied theology, beginning in 1851 in Bern and continuing at the university of Halle, Germany. But in Germany he was inspired by the great art collections, and in 1854 he convinced his father to agree to an artistic career.

Anker moved to Paris, where he studied with Charles Gleyre and attended the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1855–60.

He installed a studio in the attic of his parents' house and participated regularly in exhibitions in Switzerland and in Paris.

Anker married Anna Rüfli in 1864, and they had six children together; the four children who did not die at an early age – Louise, Marie, Maurice and Cécile – appear in some of Anker's paintings.

In 1866, he was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Salon for Schlafendes Mädchen im Walde (1865) und Schreibunterricht (1865); in 1878 he was made a knight of the Légion d'honneur.

In 1870–74 he was a member of the Grand Council of Bern, where he advocated the construction of the Kunstmuseum Bern.

Apart from his regular wintertime stays in Paris, Anker frequently travelled to Italy and other European countries.

In 1889–93 and 1895–98 he was a member of the Swiss Federal Art Commission and in 1900 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern.

A stroke in 1901 reduced his ability to work.
Only after his death in 1910 was there a first exposition dedicated to him, held at the Musée d'art et d'histoire in Neuchâtel.

= Le petit chaperon rouge, (Little Red Riding Hood), 1883
= The exactingly painted Still Life: Excess, 1896 depicts
the remnants of a large meal.
= Rudy eating
= His daughter Louise
= During his studies, Anker produced a series of works with
historical and biblical themes, including paintings of Luther
and Calvin.
= Soon after returning to Ins, though, he turned to what
would become his signature theme: the everyday life of people
in rural communities.

In his paintings depict his fellow citizens in an unpretentious
and plain manner, without idealising country life, but also without
the critical examination of social conditions that can be found in
the works of contemporaries such as Daumier, Courbet or Millet.

Although Albert Anker did paint occasional scenes with a social
significance, such as visits by usurers or charlatans to the
village, his affirmative and idealistic Christian world-view
did not include an inclination to issue any sort of overt

Also prominent in Anker's work are the more than 30 still lifes
he created.
They depict both rural and urban table settings in the tradition of
Chardin, their realist solidity reflecting Anker's vision of a harmonic
and stable world order.

In addition, Anker created hundreds of commissioned watercolours
and drawings, mostly portraits and illustrations, including for an
edition of Jeremias Gotthelf's collected works.

To provide for a steady income, Anker also decorated more than
500 faience plates for the Alsatian producer Théodore Deck.

Anker was quick to reach his artistic objectives and never strayed
from his chosen path.
His works, though, exude a sense of conciliation and understanding
as well as a calm trust in Swiss democracy; they are executed with
great skill, providing brilliance to everyday scenes through subtle
choices in colouring and lighting.[

Their parochial motives belie the open-mindedness towards contemporary
European art and events that Anker's correspondence reflects.

Albert Anker's work made him Switzerland's most popular genre painter
of the 19th century, and his paintings have continued to enjoy a great
popularity due to their general accessibility.

Indeed, as a student, Anker summed up his approach to art as follows:
"One has to shape an ideal in one's imagination, and then
one has to make that ideal accessible to the people."

Many Swiss postage stamps and other media have incorporated
Anker's works.
His studio in Ins has been preserved as a museum by the
Albert Anker Foundation.
One of Anker's greatest admirers and collectors is former
Swiss Federal Councillor Christoph Blocher, since the 1980s
Switzerland's most influential conservative politician, who
also published an apologetic essay on Anker.




Blogger Peter Pascal said...

A client suggested that I place a "nice painting" rather higher up on the wall of my dental surgery, so that she
could see while dental work was being done for her. A good idea, I thought, to distract clients.
My nurse found and ordered this canvas print,, by Gustav Klimt, by
browsing to who made our excellent print from their
database of images from western art.

11:11 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home