HASENCLEVER, Johann Peter
(b. 1810, Remscheid, d. 1853, Düsseldorf)
German painter. His artistic talent was recognized in 1827, while he was at school in Düsseldorf. The same year he embarked on a course in architecture at the Akademie in Düsseldorf. In 1828 he turned to the study of history painting. After a difference of opinion over the theory of art with the Director of the Akademie, Wilhelm von Schadow, Hasenclever went home to Remscheid. There he taught himself portrait painting. An example of his work from this period is the portrait of Gertraude Scharff (1832-33; Remscheid, Heimatmuseum).
From 1832 to 1838 Hasenclever again studied at the Akademie in Düsseldorf in a painting class taught by Ferdinand Theodor Hildebrandt (1804-1874). In portraits and humorous genre paintings Hasenclever found a field suited to his gifts. Pithy commentaries on the everyday life of the lower middle classes are present in all of Hasenclever's work. He was best known for subjects such as wine-tastings and cellar scenes, and he also made a series of Jobs pictures, humorous, ironic interpretations of popular life based on the poem 'Jobsiade', a grotesque and comic heroic epic written by Carl Arnold Kortum in 1784. One of the last of the Jobs pictures was Jobs as Schoolmaster (1845; Düsseldorf, Kunstmuseum). The early works painted by Hasenclever in the 1830s already reveal the influence of the 17th-century Dutch 'petits maîtres'.
He also found inspiration in the scenes and settings in the work of English painters such as William Hogarth or Thomas Rowlandson. In this respect The Opening of the Will by David Wilkie, which Hasenclever later saw in Vienna, was of special importance to him. Hasenclever was intrigued by the various types of heads with their exaggerated physiognomical features, the pronounced gestures, the theatrical quality of the scenery and the projection of light. In a similar manner, in Scene in a Studio (1836; Düsseldorf, Kunstmuseum), Hasenclever presented a satirical view of genre painters renouncing official art and the programme of the Düsseldorf Akademie.