A fine oil on canvas painting by Friedrich Edouard Meyerheim (1808-1879) entitled “Family Happiness”. It depicts a Mother with her children playing with some young kittens in the doorway of a barn. The lighting from the doorway and the shadows it throws have been expertly captured by the artist.
Some other examples of works by this artist are included at the end of the photos.
Frame: Presented in a giltwood frame.
Signature: Lower left and dated 1847.
Provenance: Sotheby’s Munich, 02 Dec 1997, Lot #62, Sold for £17,657 (see last photo). Haynes Fine Art of Broadway, Worcestershire (label verso).
Condition: Painting and frame are both in good condition. Hairline craquelure throughout which is all stable and mostly only visible under raking light. A UV light reveals a small amount of re-touching to the cats and main figure group. The canvas has been lined.
Measurements: Painting measures 51 x 43cm and the overall frame 66x 58cm.
Biography: Friedrich Meyerheim (1808-1879) was a German painter and came from a family of artists with a long history in Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). He received his first training from his father, a decorative painter. After further studies with the architecture painter Johann Adam Breysig, he went to Berlin in 1830 and enrolled at the Prussian Academy of Art. His teachers there were Eduard Daege and Johann Gottfried Niedlich (1766-1837).
After graduating, he wandered about with his friend, the future Prussian court architect Heinrich Strack, and produced numerous architectural drawings, primarily of churches and older Backsteingotik brick buildings. His first original work, the Schützenfest westfälischer Bauern (Westphalian Peasants Hunting Party) was painted in 1836 and bought by Joachim Heinrich Wilhelm Wagener, the Swedish-Norwegian Consul, from whose estate it entered the National Gallery (Berlin).
Under the influence of the Düsseldorf school of painting, he spent the years 1833-1841 producing works in the Romantic genre style. After that, he devoted himself exclusively to portrayals of bourgeois and peasant life, focusing on Westphalia, Thuringia, and Hesse. His work is characterized by enamel-like coloring. By 1855, he was a Regius Professor and a member of the Academies in Berlin, Dresden and Munich.
In 1836, he married Karoline Drake, the sister of sculptor Friedrich Drake. In 1870, he was afflicted by a debilitating nervous disorder that periodically prevented him from painting and eventually led to his death.