Carl Johann Spielter German, 1851–1922

Genre scene with elderly man and woman in the Altfriesischen Haus in Keitum, Sylt, Germany, 1910
Oil on canvas
28 x 40 in
SKU: 12721c
price on request
This genre scene painting by the German artist Carl Johann Spielter is an excellent example of the work he was producing in the later part of his career. The painting presents an interior view of a quintessentially German home with an elderly man and woman gathered at a table. The man, seated, pauses his writing at the arrival of his wife, who carries a chocolate service. Their forlorn looks suggest something of the narrative at play: Was the man he writing a will? Writing to tell unpleasant news? The painting likely would have carried a title specifying this more clearly, though that title has since been lost. The interior of the home in this painting is a marvel, not only because of the details of the furniture, decorations, and interior treatments, but because this is not an imagined home. This painting shows the interior of the Altfriesischen Haus in Keitum, Sylt, Germany. The house has been preserved as an example of Friesian architecture of the eighteenth century and has been a public museum since 1906. Indeed, today one can visit this museum and see the same furniture and objects on display as they are in the painting. Spielter clearly saw this house as a site of pride and beauty and painted at least one other canvas with a similar interior view. This painting is done in the style of Academic art, which prized naturalism and traditional painting techniques. The artist indeed did much of his training in the academies, including at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. That Spielter was making works like this in 1910 shows that there was still a market for such works, despite the rise of post-impressionism in Europe. There were several critics after 1900 who looked at paintings like this and thought them too backward looking in the context of the new age of Modern Art and the works of Pablo Picasso and Edvard Munch. The popularity of Spielter's works even today shows that there is a continued demand for Academic works. "Genre scene with elderly man and woman in the Altfriesischen Haus in Keitum, Sylt, Germany", 1910 Oil on canvas 28 x 40 inches, canvas 33 x 45 inches, frame Signed and dated "Carl Spielter 1910 Bremen" lower left. Inscribed "Restored 12-13-1975 (Paraffin Process)" on reverse, upper left. Accompanied by letter from Lenz Art Studio (Milwaukee, WI). Presented in historically appropriate wood and composition frame with gold finish. Overall good restored condition; scratch in image, upper right; minor scuffs, lower center; frame with scattered surface losses.