The 19th Century
Compared to the swift changes of style in the modern era, art in the 19th century moved virtually at a leisurely pace. Biedermeier, historicism and the so called mood impressionism show on close consideration completely different conceptions of art and each of them created fantastic works. The term Biedermeier, initially with a pejorative connotation, referred to the idyllic world of home and family, just like Waldmüller depicted it in his works. Landscape art, peasant genre works, animal and hunting scenes as well as portraits and still lifes by Friedrich Gauermann, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller and Johann Baptist Reiter among others are presented in the exhibition.
Interest in depicting reality was decisive for choosing motifs after the mid-19th century: Unaffected by the Biedermeier genre paintings and historicist large-scale projects of the Ringstrassen-Era, many Austrian artists were committed to the ideal of nativeness. Painting under the open sky pointed the way ahead and “mood impressionist” landscapes by Emil Jakob Schindler, Tina Blau, Olga Wisinger-Florian and Eugen Jettel were produced.
By contrast, motifs from Greek and Roman mythology and a sensual and narrative manner of representation dominate historicist paintings. Besides works by Hans Makart (in Vienna, this era is called “Makart-Era” after him), Hans Canon and Leopold Carl Müller, famous for his oriental paintings, the Leopold Museum also holds unconventional paintings by Anton Romako that already point the way into 20th century.