When Leibl painted the miller’s wife of Plon during his stay in Grasslfing near Dachau in 1873/74, his copy of a painting in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, Charlotte Butkens and her Son by Cornelis de Vos must have been in the forefront of his mind. While the woman from the Dachau countryside is less splendidly dressed, her dark costume provided an opportunity to depict a wide variety of textures and colour nuances. The plainer model actually suited Leibl’s concept of ‘honesty’ better, and her monochrome dress allowed him to emphasise the intrinsic value of the painted picture plane. In both cases the mother is rather reserved while the child is more open about confronting the viewer. “The composition of the heads and the hands is very beautiful; it gives the picture an architectural strength. Some viewers might like to ask: ‘Where is the spiritual element in this kind of painting?’ The answer should be: ‘It is in the still-life-like condition of the figures depicted, or if you prefer: in the cosmic still-life-like element of any image.’” (Karl Scheffler)


  • Title: Dachau Woman and Child
  • Creator: Wilhelm Leibl
  • Date Created: 1873 - 1874
  • Physical Dimensions: w68.0 x h86.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on panel
  • Inv.-No.: A I 824
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Andres Kilger
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: Wilhelm Leibl was a German realist artist who mainly painted portraits and scenes of peasant life. In 1861 he started his artistic training with Hermann Becker. Three years later he entered the Munich Academy where he studied with Carl Theodor von Piloty among others. In 1869 he established a group studio with Johann Sperl, Theodor Alt and Rudolph Hirth du Frênes. In the same year he left for Paris where he spent a couple of months and sought contact with Édouard Manet. His artworks belie the influence of Hans Holbein’s eye for realistic detail. Leibl painted without making preparatory studies and worked directly with colours. 'Three Woman in Church' (1882) is considered his best known work.
  • Artist Place of Death: Würzburg, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Cologne, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1844-10-23/1900-12-04

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