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19th Century European Paintings

During the 19th century, painting was the highest form of art. Countries ran an academy in their major cities and sometimes in smaller towns to train artists in the academic style. In the mid-19th century, however, the Barbizon School in France rejected that academic style. The School consisted of landscape artists who aimed to more truly represent the countryside as part of the French Realist movement.

In Paris, artists competed to have their works shown in the mostly-annual Salon, which grew into an unruly mess. Thousands of paintings were exhibited by hundreds of artists, all of them shown “salon style” in a great mish-mash over the walls. It was a challenge to contemplate any single work.


Popular Artists

Artists like Gustave Millet painted social critique. His painting, "The Gleaners," 1857, was displayed in the Salon that year. The aristocracy feared peasant revolts that could cost them their plush life, and were alarmed by Millet’s monumentally scaled depiction of bent-backed peasants looking through a field hoping to find leftover wheat.

Edouard Manet was the chief catalyst of modern painting. He encouraged artists to be innovative and continue showing in the Salon so they could challenge as many viewers as possible. His "Olympia," 1865, shocked people. In this painting, a prostitute gazes directly at the viewer with a blasé attitude, showing no sentiment toward the flowers sent to her by a suitor.


Quick Facts

  • Vincent Van Gogh had his first one-man show posthumously, and Paul Cezanne received his first solo exhibition in 1895, only 11 years before he died
  • The Salon began to wind down in prestige from 1871 onward. The Post-Impressionists, like Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne, championed by their dealer, Ambroise Vuillard, pushed painting to the brink of abstraction
  • During this time, art dealers like Paul Durand-Rouel and Georges Petit began giving artists stipends, buying large amounts of artists’ work, and controlling prices

Recommended Items at Auction

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Themistokles von Eckenbrecher (Athen 1842 - Goslar 1921). In the Esefjord near Balholm.
Feb 24, 11:00 AM CET
Themistokles von Eckenbrecher (Athen 1842 - Goslar 1921). In the Esefjord near Balholm.
by Auktionshaus Stahl
Est: €0- €0
€1,0001 Bid
Gregor von Bochmann (Estland 1850 - Düsseldorf 1930). Fishermen on the Curonian Coast.
Feb 24, 11:00 AM CET
Gregor von Bochmann (Estland 1850 - Düsseldorf 1930). Fishermen on the Curonian Coast.
by Auktionshaus Stahl
Est: €0- €0
€2,4001 Bid
Eugen Dücker (Ösel/Estland 1841 - Düsseldorf 1916). Homecoming of the Fishermen.
Feb 24, 11:00 AM CET
Eugen Dücker (Ösel/Estland 1841 - Düsseldorf 1916). Homecoming of the Fishermen.
by Auktionshaus Stahl
Est: €0- €0
€1,6001 Bid
Hugo Köcke (Berlin 1876 - Westerland/Sylt 1956). Night Train.
Feb 24, 11:00 AM CET
Hugo Köcke (Berlin 1876 - Westerland/Sylt 1956). Night Train.
by Auktionshaus Stahl
Est: €0- €0
€8,0000 Bids
Hans Peter Feddersen (Westerschnatebüll 1848 - Kleiseerkoog 1941). Dunes on Sylt.
Feb 24, 11:00 AM CET
Hans Peter Feddersen (Westerschnatebüll 1848 - Kleiseerkoog 1941). Dunes on Sylt.
by Auktionshaus Stahl
Est: €0- €0
€9,0000 Bids
Otto Modersohn (Soest 1865 - Fischerhude 1943). Bridge over River Wümme in Fischerhude.
Feb 24, 11:00 AM CET
Otto Modersohn (Soest 1865 - Fischerhude 1943). Bridge over River Wümme in Fischerhude.
by Auktionshaus Stahl
Est: €0- €0
€8,0000 Bids
Peder Mönsted (Grenaa 1859 - Fredensborg 1941). Way through the Dunes.
Feb 24, 11:00 AM CET
Peder Mönsted (Grenaa 1859 - Fredensborg 1941). Way through the Dunes.
by Auktionshaus Stahl
Est: €0- €0
€2,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell 19th Century European Paintings


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