Art Wednesday


Born in Switzerland, Albert Anker (1813 - 1910) painted beautiful paintings of children as can be seen in these examples. A father of four, his children often served as models for his scenes which are usually set in a pastoral backdrop or show a very tender, sweet portrayal of childhood. He has been called the most popular Swiss painter of the 19th century, sadly I doubt he is known outside of Switzerland.
Though Anker did not initially attend art school, he studied under Louis Wallinger taking drawing lessons. In 1851 he went to Berne, Germany to study theology where he would become a priest. He became dissatisfied with the priesthood and much to his fathers’ dismay; Anker was still fascinated by art. In 1854 finally moved to Paris to study at the Ecole ImpĂ©riale des Beaux-Arts (the same place as William Adolphe Bourguereau who I wrote about previously).

Aside from his numerous paintings of young children, Anker would also paint light and airy landscapes in watercolor. These landscapes were typically inspired by the Italian countryside, where he would travel often in during his lifetime. In particular, Anker turned to watercolors in the last ten years of his life due to health problems.
Although Anker gained much notoriety in his lifetime, he is generally not as well-known today as his contemporaries and fellow students. Perhaps this is because, during the height of his popularity, social-criticism was a rising theme amongst other painters, and Anker’s portraits of children weren’t as harsh or striking. Anker painted in the Classical style, and new styles of painting were arising that are still extremely popular today, like Impressionism - the Impressionists seemed to have sent many painters such as Anker and Bourguereau into the unknown as they didn't chose to change their style of painting - sad as they are very touching and beautiful. (Source)


  1. Love the one of the kittens ~ & the older man. Self~portrait?

  2. Jo,
    These are so lovely! Are these available that I could print them out on photo paper, or did you have to pay for these? I really enjoy your Art Wednesdays, especially because they expose me to artist I probably never would have discovered on my own. Thank you!

  3. Jo, you have a knack for finding the most unheard of artists, who produce the most incredible work!

    I love these... we must have similiar tastes in what we find appealing in art, because I always enjoy the pictures you feature.

  4. Thanks Amanda - it is quite fun hunting for unknown artists - some I know, but others I stumble across. I feel sad for them, they have put their lives into art and the desire to create beauty and now they are long forgotten. Why does one painter get remembered and others don't.

    Trisha - if you google this artist you will find these prints. Some are larger than others.

  5. Thank you very much for posting these paintings....they are so lovely! I do tend to like more classical art myself, so these sweet scenes are just up my alley. The girl with the kittens reminds me a bit of Beth from Little Women.

    Thanks also for the book suggestions. At Home sounds quite intriguing - a must for my list for sure! I really enjoyed a book (I think I blogged about it awhile ago) about Victorian life that was done the same way, room by room. This particular author ordered the rooms by life stage, so the bedroom was birth, then the nursery, etc. I think it's a great way of using architecture to read history!

    Thank you also for suggesting Zola. I'm not familiar with his work, but will look into it. I have tried to read Hugo (Les Mis) and just couldn't do it. Perhaps it's because I've seen the musical, and found Cozette's character highly annoying.

  6. Another artist I had not met before! I love paintings that are more realistic, like these are, and with gentle, peaceful subject matter. This was a lovely introduction to more new (for me) art.

  7. I came and took a look at this post last night, but it wasn't until today that I remembered I forgot to write a comment! I love these paintings! They are just beautiful - and I agree with Stacey, they are gentle and peaceful. :)

  8. I always LOVE your portrait postings - your choices are fabulous! LOVE these dear Jo.


  9. I have never heard of Albert Anker, but I am so glad to have been introduced to him. I LOVE the painting of the reading girl and the old man...the wood work in the back and the light on his forehead...beautiful. I may just have to post him on my blog too.

    Thank you thank you...will visit again.

  10. Mrs Santos - lovely to meet you.

    Albert Anker is certainly obscure but I love them. If you Google his work you will find many other ones of young girls (which are mostly his daughters) - I have used a couple in stories too.


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