Friedrich von Amerling - Buy or sell works

1803, Vienna (Austria) - 1878, Vienna (Austria)

Friedrich von Amerling was one of Austria’s most important 19th-century painters, and one of the most important representatives of the Biedermeier period. Alongside Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, he was one of the most outstanding portrait painters of his time.

Friedrich Amerling was born in Vienna on 14 April 1803. His father was a goldsmith and silversmith. Amerling studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna from 1815 to 1824, attending the engraving school under Josef Klieber and the historical painting class with Hubert Maurer and Karl Gsellhofer.

Amerling spent the years from 1824–1826 as a pupil of Joseph Bergler the Younger at the academy in Prague. He then took several study trips abroad, travelling to London from 1827–1828, where he studied portrait painting under Thomas Lawrence, then to Paris to study under Horace Vernet, and finally, to Rome.

Amerling was active in Vienna from 1828, forging a reputation for himself with numerous commissions for the Austrian Imperial House, the nobility and the bourgeoisie.

He created a comprehensive oeuvre of over a thousand paintings, the majority of which were portraits of prominent personalities. They include the life-size painting of Emperor Franz II/I which was to form the basis for the artist’s reputation and success. Depictions of noble ladies and politicians including Hungarian reformer Stephan Graf Széchenyi, artists such as Franz Liszt and Friedrich Grillparzer, and important businessmen such as textile manufacturer and patron of the arts Rudolf von Arthaber would follow. His portraits were typically precisely observed and richly coloured, rendering them more than subtle character studies: he also documented the role and self-image of those he depicted, offering impressive insights into the world of the Biedermeier and Vormärz periods.

A respected and admired painter, Amerling was able to purchase Schloss Gumpendorf, which became known as 'Amerling Palace', and which the painter filled with works of art. Many well-known artists, literary figures and musicians convened there for social events. Amerling received numerous honours and was knighted in 1878.

Amerling continued to travel frequently in his later years, embarking on long journeys which were a source of artistic inspiration. He travelled to Italy, the Netherlands, to Munich, Spain, England, Greece and Scandinavia, and later to Egypt and Palestine. He died in Vienna in 1887.

His fourth and final wife, the later Countess Marie Hoyos, sold his valuable estate to create a foundation for needy artists. The majority of Amerling’s art collection was auctioned at the Dorotheum in May 1916, with the proceeds used to fund this foundation.

Even today Amerling’s works achieve top prices and are often the highlight of Dorotheum auctions. His Girl with Straw Hat, executed in 1835, was sold for EUR 1.5 million at the Dorotheum on 15 October 2008. Today the painting is part of the Liechtenstein Collection, on display in the Liechtenstein Palace in Vienna.