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Sold at Auction: Gustav Bauernfeind



(b 1848; d 1904) Bauernfeind was born in the town of Sulz-am-Neckar in Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany. His education gave no indication that he would become one of the most accomplished artists of his era. He had graduated from the Stuttgart Polytechnic Institute and joined an architectural firm. After an initial start at the office of Professor Wilhelm Baumer, he was employed by Adolf Gnauth who was not only an architect, but also a moderately gifted painter. It was during his time in the employment of Gnauth that Bauernfeind transformed from architect to artist. When traveling to Italy for a project for Gnauth's firm in 1873 and 1874, Bauernfeind refined his artistic skills, executing with meticulous verisimilitude the architecture and nature of his surroundings. Although his attention to detail was remarkable, his work found few interested buyers due to the rather mundane subject matter. He was advised to find a subject matter more 'en vogue' and, very much aware of the financial opportunities awaiting a painter of Orientalist subjects, he looked to the East as his new source of inspiration. This marked a turning point in his career: a fundamentally different and exotic culture in which to study the sun, the light, the characters, customs and religious attitudes. After his first visit to Jaffa and Jerusalem in 1880-81, he traveled widely in the Middle East, particularly to the Holy Land and Damascus, eventually settling in Jerusalem where he died in 1904. (credit: Christie’s catalogue of 19th Century European Art including Orientalist and Spanish Art, July 2, 2008, Lot 28)
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