Family Portrait

Accession Number

Family Portrait

Wilhelm von Kaulbach

Artist Nationality
German (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
graphite on off-white wove paper

25 1/16 in. x 19 11/16 in. ( 63.7 cm x 50 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Wilhelm von Kaulbach
Germany, 1805–1874
Family Portrait
Museum purchase, 1960/2.82
Wilhelm von Kaulbach first studied painting at the academy in Düsseldorf, where he was taught by one of the leading painters of the Nazarene movement. The Nazarenes favored monumental painting that revived interest in Renaissance artists, such as Raphael and Dürer. Kaulbach was taught the importance of composition and a preference for strong, descriptive drawing over color—both elements prominently featured here.
This large family portrait is presumed to be that of Kaulbach’s own family. The two women bear a close resemblance to Kaulbach’s own mother and sister. It is not known who the two younger children are, but it is likely that they are also members of this extended family of artists. Throughout this work, Kaulbach’s line is wonderfully consistent; there is no harsh emphasis on any single figure or element to disturb the harmonious overall effect.

Subject matter
This is a family grouping posed for a portrait.

Physical Description
This is a fine line drawing in pencil on white paper that shows a group of four figures of various ages. One is seated and the others are gathered around her chair, looking out at the viewer. They are dressed in early 19th c. European clothing. The central figure is a mature woman who embraces a young girl at her side. There is a boy and young woman standing behind her.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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families (kinship groups)

9 Related Resources

(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
Mothers and Children
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)
Children and Families in the Early Modern World
(Part of: Who Were the Puritans?)
Schwache Interaktion
(Part of: W20 - German 416 - Möbel in der Kunst)

& Author Notes

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