Wilhelm Leibl


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(b Cologne, 23 Oct. 1844; d Würzburg, 4 Dec. 1900).

German painter, one of the leading exponents of Realism in his country. He studied at the Academy in Munich and in 1869 he met Courbet, who was visiting the city for an international exhibition. Later that year he moved to Paris to work with Courbet, but the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 forced him to return to Germany. However, he continued to exhibit his work in Paris and during his lifetime he had a higher reputation in France than in his own country. Disgusted with the intrigues of the Munich art world, from 1873 Leibl withdrew to the Bavarian countryside, where he found his favourite models in simple country folk, as in his best-known work Three Women in Church (1878–82, Kunsthalle, Hamburg). This is in the hard, objective manner of his so-called ‘Holbein period’; later his technique became more fluid. Leibl also painted a number of portraits. His work is well represented in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne.

Subjects: Art.

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