PETTENKOFEN, August von
(b. 1822, Wien, d. 1889, Wien)

Biography

Austrian painter and lithographer. He studied (1837-40) under Leopold Kupelwieser at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. From 1837 to about 1847 he worked intensively in the relatively new medium of lithography. The caricatures he provided for Viennese magazines such as Der Kobold or Wiener Blatter reveal the strong influence of French lithography.

On leaving the Akademie, Pettenkofen first pursued a military career and from 1841 to 1843 he was stationed in Padua. On returning to Vienna, however, he became a private pupil of Franz Eybl, attracted by this painter's fresh approach and realistic style. Pettenkofen's first paintings were portraits and clearly show Eybl's influence: the sitters are viewed objectively, and equal attention is paid to facial features, dress and background, whether a gathered curtain or a landscape, as in the portrait of Lawyer Stommer as a Hunter (1845; Vienna, Belvedere). Pettenkofen also produced anecdotal genre scenes with appealing or humorous figures, comparable with the work of the Viennese painter Carl Schindler (1821-42).

From the end of 1853 he traveled in Hungary. His paintings are treasured for their fine qualities of colour, and for the sincerity with which the artist sets before us the uneventful melancholy life of Hungarian peasants and Gypsies without any theatrical pathos or forced humour.

He was the inventor of the Pettenkofen box, an appliance for dissolving and redistributing cracked or discoloured varnish without friction or the dangerous use of chemicals.



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