Franz Carl Spitzweg
Born. 05.02.1808 in Germering
Died. 23.09.1885 in München
German painter of the Romantic, Biedermeier period
About the artist
Carl Spitzweg was born in Munich on 5 February 1808. The Schmutzers’ estate at Neuhausergasse was a stately home that later gave Carl Spitzweg financial independence through inheritance. His relatives dominated flourishing fruit businesses. His Father, Simon Spitzweg was an educated merchant who also achieved respect and prestige in Munich through his political activities. Carl Spitzweg had two brothers whose professions were as predetermined by their father as his own. The eldest, Simon, was to take over the business, Carl was to become a pharmacist, and the youngest, Eduard, was a doctor. In Munich, Carl enjoyed a well-protected childhood. The death of his mother in 1819 left him half-orphaned. His father married his late wife’s sister, Maria Kreszenz, in the same year.
Although his artistic talent announced itself early (first drawing in 1823), Carl Spitzweg began his apprenticeship in February 1825 at the city pharmacy. He studied pharmacy, botany, and chemistry at Munich University in 1830, graduating with honours as a licensed practical pharmacist in 1832. Unfortunately, during his last year of apprenticeship, his father died. In 1833 Spitzweg broke off his career as a pharmacist. In the same year, during a stay at a health resort in Bad Sulz (Peißenberg), he decided to devote himself full-time to painting. The decision was made easier by the fact that he had been allocated his inheritance share at this time.
In 1835 he became a member of the Munich Kunstverein. Even though he had never attended an academy and was self-taught. He travelled to Dalmatia (1839), to Venice (1850) and with the landscape painter Eduard Schleich to Paris, London, Antwerp, Frankfurt am Main, and Heidelberg.
Carl Spitzweg created over 1500 paintings and drawings. In 1824 he began to paint with oil colours. During his lifetime, Spitzweg was able to sell about four hundred paintings. He found admirers and buyers above all among the middle classes, who had acquired new purchasing power, even though the popularity that Spitzweg’s paintings enjoy today did not set in until after the Second World War.
From 1844 he was a contributor to the Fliegende Blätter, in which he provided numerous humorous drawings.
Shortly after the death of his younger brother, Carl Spitzweg died of a stroke on 23 September 1885 at the age of 77. He was found in his flat and buried in Munich.