OPITZ, Georg Emanuel
(b. 1775, Praha, d. 1841, Leipzig)

Biography

Georg Emanuel Opitz (also Opiz), Czech-born German painter. He studied law for a short time before moving to the Academy of Arts in Dresden, where he studied under Giovanni Battista Casanova (1730-1795).

In the early part of his career he worked as a portrait painter before moving to Vienna in 1801. It was here that he started to develop as a genre painter, painting scenes of everyday life; although these paintings are often laden with satire and social commentary, their warmth and charm is undeniable. Opitz moved to Paris in 1814 and was there during the occupation of the city by Russian forces. This is why, despite the fact Opitz never set foot in Russia, some of his work reflects a close observation of Russian soldiers and Cossacks.

After sojourns in Heidelberg and Altenburg he settled in Leipzig in 1820. Here he followed in the tradition of drawings that were being produced by Thomas Rowlandson in the first quarter of the nineteenth century and the erotic Japanese woodblock prints from the late eighteenth century by artists such as Utamoro.

He was a skilled miniaturist, watercolourist and engraver. Through his travels he encountered many varied subjects and began to diversify into military and genre scenes.

In Leipzig he became a professor at the Academy of Arts and worked for Urania magazine, producing genre works until his death in 1841.