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 Theodor Mattenheimer  (1787 - 1856)

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Lived/Active: Germany      Known for: Still life painting

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from Auction House Records.
Prächtiges Blumenstillleben mit Insekten. 1830
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Biography from Ketterer Kunst, Munich:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Like his bother Karl, Theodor Mattenheimer received his first training in art from his father.  In 1807 the duchess Maria Anna in Bavaria recommended him to King Max  Joseph I, who from then on supported his painting.  In 1817, Mattenheimer became gallery inspector in Bamberg and in 1823 he held the same post in Augsburg.  Afterwards he became director of the local art and drawing school.  Johann Georg von Dillis the first director of the Pinakothek, which opened in 1836, respected Mattenheimer both as a painter as well as a restorer and hired him as inspector for the Pinakothek.

Theodor Mattenheimer specialized in still lives from an early point on.  In the early 19th century he was among the pioneers of a genre that had clearly lost in importance in the 18th century. Especially in Southern Germany, Mattenheimer played an important role, his impact on following artist generations can be compared with that of Johann Wilhelm Preyer on the Düsseldorf School. 

Mattenheimer perfected his individual style by stuying the paintings of renownend Dutch still life artists, especially works by Jan van Huysums at the Munich museum.  Based in the Netherlands and Flanders, the genre had reached its peak in Europe in the days of the baroque era.  Numerous schools developed, artist’s specialized in various subjects, such as the significant Vanitas still life or somewhat more profane book and smoker still lives.  In the wake of the revival of the genre in the early 19th century, artists like Mattenheimer and Preyer are less concerned with the symbolic content of the depicted objects as it was the case in the 17th century, but they were much more focussed on the extremely precise techniques of the Dutch and their balanced compositions.

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