Saturday, October 19, 2013

Who Painted This? #49

Who painted this? #49
A rather different visual image this week

You need to tell me - as a comment on this blog - who painted this PLUS all the other things I want to know (see link to rules below).

ALSO Tell me what you can find out about this artist and/or artwork.

The winner will be the person with the BEST answer rather than the first to respond - so you don't have to rush and you do have time to do some research.  Just get your answer to me by the end of Thursday your time.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.  The questions which need answering don't stop at "Who painted this?"

How to participate in "Who painted this? #49"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.
Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook!
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer
  • if wrong it will be published
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #48 - The Answer

Who painted this? #48
  • Title of the artwork I Too Was in Arcadia (Auch ich war in Arkadien)
  • Name of the artist who created this artwork: Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759 - 1835) (German)
  • Date it was created: 1801
  • Media used: Etching; Plate: 15 1/8 x 19 7/8 inches; Sheet: 16 1/4 x 20 7/8 inches
  • Where it lives now: Several places as it is an etching! 
This is the most famous etching created by Carl Wilhelm Kolbe (1759-1835).  He's generally regarded as the most famous etcher of his time.

He learned how to draw through classical academic training at the Berlin Academy of Art where he did his time drawing plaster models and classical sculpture. His etching wasn't a skill taught to him.  Instead he learned how to do it for himself.

What really interested Kolbe were landscapes and, believe it or not, giant vegetation. This print is but one of 28 etchings in which giant vegetation dwarfs the human figures in the image.  His dislocation of scale in this way is something not seen before or since.

The location for this particular print is Arcadia (aka Arcady in English).  Whereas Arcadia actually exists (it's a province in Greece), it's used in this context as part of a Romantic concept of a utopian place, a pastoral paradise, where the land is unspoiled by man and man can be at one with nature.  Arcadian landscapes were very popular during the Romantic period of German art (late 18th and early 19th centuries).

The Latin inscription on the tomb translates to “I too lived in Arcadia.”  This is a 'momenti mori' concept - it's a reminder of the transitory nature of life and the inevitability of death.

What Kolbe excels at is the detailing the intricacies of leaves and grasses and how they overlap. He creates a lot of depth in his etchings through very refined use of light and shade.

Who guessed correct?

Who painted this #48? - There were just three correct answers by:
I'm calling this one a joint win by John and Bernadette - both of whom offered an insight into the artist, the artwork and the context.

There were fewer participants this week. I'm left wondering whether this was because of the artwork or the change in the nature of the challenge.


  1. Peonies, watercolour and ink. Painted 1897by Alphonse Mucha for a printed fabric. It was purchased by the National Gallery of Scotland in 2003. Alphonse Mucha was a Czech artist born in Ivancice in Morovia. Most of his career he spent in Paris. He was part of the Art Nouveau Movement and was a prolific graphic artist designing jewellery, stage sets, furniture, stained glass and of course posters, one of which adorned my room in the 70s. I thought at first this work was by William Morris, but Muchas design is more lyrical and although there's a lot of structure it's more delicate. There was an exhibition of his work in the 1980s in the Grand Palais in Paris. In case you're wondering why I'm posting this at 3am it's because I can't sleep wondering what the answer to last week's who painted this was!

  2. It looks like a bit of Alphonse Mucha. One of my favs - I saw his exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art.

  3. Immediately thought of Alphonse Mucha, as he has a very distinctive style.

  4. I`m really enjoying the challenge of doing some research ,especially on an artist I know little or nothing about, but I can see that not everyone has the time to do it..or the interest.If I had a specially busy weekend I might think twice myself, especially if it had already taken me a long time to work out the details of the image. The last two weren`t too difficult to find ( not nearly as bad as some ! ) so it may be that some of your followers prefer a more straightforward challenge with a straightforward answer Do keep "Who Painted This" whatever format.

  5. #49
    Alphonse Mucha
    Ink and watercolour designed for printed fabric
    National Galleries of Scotland purchased in 2003

    It was obviously Mucha's work is was obviously peonies - it was the first result of my internet search
    I've never responded to this before but I just love his work

    Catherine Henry

  6. Alphonse Mucha Czech, 1860-1939

    Peonies - Pattern Design

    Not sure of the date but I would say early 1900s


  7. 1897 Peonies ink & watercolour 79.5 x 95 cm © Alphonse Mucha

    Famous Art Nouveau Painter.

    Please add to previous post.

  8. Hi! I recently discovered your blog. Loving this little art history quiz.

    Title: Peonies
    Medium: Ink and Watercolor
    Artist: Alphonse Maria Mucha (1860-1939)
    Created around 1897-1898, so it's probably made in Paris.
    Currently at display in the online collection of The Scottisch National Gallery (I suppose they own the original, not sure if it is at display)

    Description: 4678

    More info on Mucha:

    Also at the Mucha Foundation:

    and at:

    My initial thought upon seeing the image was "Hey, it's Mucha!". Then I thought maybe it was too obvious so I searched for "art nouveau flowers", only to find out it is a work from Mucha after all.

    My blog:

  9. A delightful cocktail of an image, a dash of Charles Rennie Macintosh with a squeeze of William Morris?

  10. I suppose I didn't say much about the artist, Alphonse Mucha in my previous comment. Let me correct that. When I was in art school back in the 70's "commercial artists" were not considered REAL artists. I have always been a fan of illustrators and he was my first. I devoted a lot to learning about him when there was no internet. His work has had more exposure than most with his ads and posters and the like. His beautiful mass printed artwork has influenced many, many artists. He also did work that was not commercial, his Slavic Epic as an example.
    I found this piece especially interesting since one of my favorite peonies is named Sarah Bernhardt, one of his frequent subjects.

    Catherine Henry

  11. I forgot to say that I know a lot about Mucha and patterns. I have two books on him that I consulted.

  12. My guess is Alphonse Mucha - now to do the necessary research.

  13. Alphonse Mucha
    Peonies 1897 - 1898

    This is an original watercolour for a printed fabric. Although the individual flowers are detailed, retaining an element of naturalism, Mucha has stylized the stems to create the sensual curving lines associated with the art nouveau style. The thick, dark outlines of the flowers and flat areas of colour are also a feature of Art Nouveau. Mucha has used soft, pastel colours for the flowers and included gentle curving shapes in the background.

    Medium Ink and watercolour

    National Galleries of Scotland

    I want to thank you for all the hours of pleasure that you have given me. The time spent researching allows me a well needed escape from the realities of my life. Sorry if I have missed the last few weeks, but life has been quite difficult lately. Your hard work does not go unappreciated. THANK YOU

  14. Title: Peonies
    Artist: Alphonse Mucha
    Date: 1897/98
    Media: Ink and Watercolour - intended as design for printed fabric
    Where now: National Galleries Scotland
    How researched: The style immediately brought Mucha to mind. A few years ago I visited the Mucha museum in Prague and also bought a book of his work, although this image was not one of those shown. I looked through the collections listed on Wikipedia without success, then decided to search under "Alphonse Mucha peonies" and bingo!

  15. Artist.....Alfons (or Alphonse) Mucha
    Medium...Ink and Watercolour
    Where it is..Scottish National Gallery
    How I found it .. I recognised it was Mucha.
    There was a time in the 1960s when almost every art student had some kind of Art Nouveau poster displayed somewhere..above a workbench or on a studio wall. Quite often this poster was by Mucha. Dramatic Art Nouveau graphics with their sharp black lines combined with sensuous curves found favour with the Flower Children , the young generation breaking away from the conventional in all walks of life. Born in 1860, in Moravia ( now the Czech Republic) Alfons Mucha is said to have been able to draw before he could walk. In his youth, he held a variety of jobs:In the law courts ( until he was sacked for drawing caricatures), Set designer ( until the theatre burnt down) and mural painter, where his talent impressed his client so much that he sponsored Mucha to study at the Academy of Art in Munich for two years followed by three years in Paris. .After that , needing to make a living , he became an illustrator.He got his big break a few years later simply by being in the right place at the right time . While he was correcting proofs ( doing a friend a favour) in Lemercier`s Printing Works, Sarah Bernhardt, the biggest star on the French stage at the time. commissioned a poster for her new production "Gismonda". The job was urgent , Mucha was on the spot and got the commission.....and the rest is history. The poster was revolutionary, tall and elegant in shape, in strong yet subtle colours, it was very different to the theatre posters being produced up to then. The distinctive lettering and the halo effect around the head of the figure became Mucha`s trademark. In the following years he turned his hand to design of every kind, magazine covers, jewellery, menus, calendars,cutlery and fabric. He often used flowers and foliage as inspiration including in` Peonies`. This stylised piece,with its beautiful pale colours ,was designed to be repeat printed on fabric; when you look carefully you can see how the repeat pattern fits together. . Interestingly, there is a very similar version of this, listed as a wallpaper pattern, in the `MuseƩ du papier peint ` in Rixheim, Alsace , in France. Many of Mucha`s designs are still in print in some form or another , he never seems to be long out of fashion.( It`s impossible in this potted history to show just how influential Mucha has been.) As recently as 2011, a Mucha inspired fabric was used by Cacharel in their Spring collection. Despite all his success, he still wished for recognition as a painter, a true artist.. and in the latter years of his life finally obtained sponsorship for a long cherished project. Charles Crane, an American millionaire agreed to fund the `Slav Epic`. Mucha celebrated more than 1000 years of Slav history in a series of 20 enormous paintings. These works were exhibited in various cities , then hidden during World War Two , then put in to storage. In 1968 they were finally placed on exhibition in the castle of Moravsky Krumlov. During the German invasion of Czechoslovakia , Mucha was arrested by the Gestapo and though he was released he never really recovered both mentally or physically and died of pneumonia in 1939.

  16. I guessed firstly who this was painted by andtyped in Alphonse Mucha peonies. There is much information about his life on the wikipedia site and information from the National Galleries Scotland about this painting where it resides.

    Artist - Alfons Maria Mucha (1860–1939) often known in English and French as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs.

    Title - Peonies, drawing
    Date -1897
    Medium - Ink and watercolour
    Dimensions - Height: 950 mm (37.4 in). Width: 795 mm (31.3 in).
    Current location - Scottish National Gallery , Purchased with the assistance of the Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland 2003

    This is an original watercolour for a printed fabric. Although the individual flowers are detailed, retaining an element of naturalism, Mucha has stylized the stems to create the sensual curving lines associated with the art nouveau style. The thick, dark outlines of the flowers and flat areas of colour are also a feature of Art Nouveau. Mucha has used soft, pastel colours for the flowers and included gentle curving shapes in the background.


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AGAIN because of too much spam.
My blog posts are always posted to my Making A Mark Facebook Page and you can comment there if you wish.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.