|Original Artist||Anton Hartinger|
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(1806 Vienna, Austria - 1890 Vienna, Austria)
Hartinger combined for his still lifes often traditional with more exotic flowers, reflecting the great upsurge in plant collecting, cultivation and botanical illustration taking place within the artist's lifetime. Anton Hartinger specialized in still life subjects composed of fruit and flowers, although some game pieces by his hand are known.
Hartinger’s early flowerpieces, such as A still life of roses, were inspired by the works of his master, the Viennese still-life painter Sebastian Wegmayr (1776-1857). It is also likely that Hartinger was influenced by the works of Dutch still-life painters from the previous century, such as Jan van Huysum, Jan van Os and Rachel Ruysch, whose works c1700 are representative of the colouring and composition of Viennese flower paintings from this period. Towards the end of the 1830s, Hartinger’s floral arrangements developed as he began to place his bouquets on a ledge in front of a bright, evening sky, often with a mountainous landscape in the distance. His palette became somewhat brighter, although he seems to have reverted regularly to a warmer tonality. Regardless of this progression, Hartinger adhered to a detailed and faithful rendering of flowers and fruit throughout his painting career, with a technique worthy of the example of his Dutch and Viennese predecessors.
As still life paintings of the Dutch golden age, Hartinger’s composition brings together flowers and fruit from different seasons and continents: the tulip blossoming in the spring, while the roses and poppies are summer flowers, and the fully ripened grapes belong to the harvest season. Besides more traditional flowers, such as the rose, poppy and Harebell, the artist has also included several exotic species, proving his association with botanical artists and his interest in recent plant introductions. There can be no doubt that some of the flowers in this arrangement would have puzzled and amazed Hartinger’s contemporaries, such as the red cactus flower, an epiphyllum from the West Indies needing hothouse treatment. The trumpet vine and dahlia from Central America, were also new to European gardens. There are also several new arrivals from the Cape – phygelius, plumbago and lobelia, while the rhododendron and white peony came from Central Asia and would certainly not have appeared in any painting of the previous century. Perhaps the most interesting plant of all is the striking red kennedia, an Australian plant arriving soon after the opening of that continent to plant hunters. Although it was named after an English nurseryman, it was brought back on a French ship and first flowered in the Empress Josephine’s garden at Malmaison.
Though Hartinger depicts a combination of flowers from different seasons and continents, he presents the viewer with a convincing illusion of reality that is highly pleasing to the eye, and which has remained so long after each flower has withered and died.