Dionys Ganter

Portrait of Johanna Dold, undatiert

About the object

This double portrait (cf. 09190) depicts the pride of the Black Forest poeple. The man and woman are dressed in Elztäler costume. The women's yellow top hat made of straw is matched by a classical black top hat for the gentleman. Ganter began his career as a shield clock painter before entering the Vienna Academy and becoming a much sought-after portraitist. His former profession probably explains why he chose tin as his canvas for this oil painting.
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This double portrait of Johanna and Nikolaus Dold vividly demonstrates the pride of the people of the Black Forest, especially those who were economically successful. The paintings, conceived as a pair, also bear witness to the artist’s high level of painterly skill. Ganter began his career as a clock painter, and in keeping with the tradition of shield painting chose sheet metal as the support for these portraits. In a particularly striking way, individual details such as Johanna Dold’s neck scarf are rendered in very light, loose, almost sketch-like brushstrokes, while other areas of the painting are developed with much more precision. Both figures are depicted in the traditional costume of the Elz valley; the yellow top hat of woven straw proudly worn by the women of that region is especially impressive. When the paintings are viewed side by side, the two top hats-black for him, yellow for her-convey a sense of equality and shared dignity. The founding director of the Augustinermuseum, Max Wingenroth, chose a graphic reproduction of the portrait of Johanna Dold as the frontispiece for his study of Black Forest painting. Dionys Ganter was among those Black Forest artists who first learned their trade as craftsmen, most often as clock shield painters. In 1821, however, Ganter went to Vienna, where he received academic training. After his return, he became a sought-after portrait painter. TILMANN VON STOCKHAUSEN (Transl. MELISSA THORSON)

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