|Biography from Fred R. Kline Gallery, Inc.:|
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Sir Edwin (Henry) Landseer (British painter, draftsman, sculptor, etcher)
Born London March 7, 1802-Died London October 1, 1873.
Victorian England, Sir Edwin Landseer’s fame was widespread and his
success and popularity made his name a household word among a broad
public following, even enduring a long period of critical
neglect. However, Landseer remained one of the most highly
respected British painters of the 19th century and his works commanded
high prices from collectors, the most eminent of whom was Queen
Victoria who commissioned a large number of his works including genre
paintings, portraits, and conversation pieces of the royal family and
customarily the royal dogs as well.
Animals were the main
subject of Landseer’s art—and with irony, humor and bold invention, he
invested them with human characteristics and human behavior. Landseer’s
animals possess all the strengths and weaknesses of character
associated with humanity and are usually presented within a purely
naturalistic or story-telling context that reveals their particular
personalities, which is often contrasted with their interaction with
His favorite animal subjects included dogs, deer, and monkeys, and he
portrayed them in primarily domestic settings and hunting scenes in
Scotland. Despite his great skills as a painter of animals and
his brilliant renderings of their anatomy, his tendency toward
sentimentality and moralizing in his animal narratives—those very
qualities which delighted the Victorian public—caused his reputation to
dim as that fashion lost its appeal among the critical art
establishment and as the Victorian era faded.
Toward the end
of the 20th century, Landseer’s artistic fortunes were revived with
retrospective exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (the first
in the United States) and at the Tate Gallery in London, both curated
by Landseer scholar Richard Ormond. Once again the appeal of his
paintings brought high prices from collectors, notably $2 million at
auction in 2003 and many prices at close to $1 million in the 1980s and
1990s. Among Landseer’s most famous and enduring works are The Monarch of the Glen depicting a robust stag of the Scottish Highlands and the sculptural Lions of Trafalgar Square, which are considered icons of the British Empire.
Written and edited by Fred R. Kline, Fred R. Kline Gallery, with information gathered from various sources, including: Sir Edwin Landseer, an exhibition catalogue by Richard Ormand; a biographical essay by Robert Upstone in Grove Art Dictionary; and a biographical essay by Ian Chilvers in The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art & Artists.
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