August Kübler (1804-1844) was a German-Polish artist known predominantly for portraits and history subjects.
Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, central European politics shifted towards calmer motivations. The mood was decidedly less divisive, focused on stability and wealth creation. This, coupled with increasing industrialisation, led to the rise of ‘new money’ - the middle classes were in full swing.
Referred to as the ‘Biedermeier period’, between 1815 and 1848, life was relatively chipper for these newly emerging affluent homeowners. Interior decoration became high on the agenda, along with presenting an image of moderation, modesty and contentment. Portraits were integral to the home, particularly as the aristocratic ‘old money’ had walls adorned with them.
Artists flourished, producing detailed scenes to celebrate family values and meticulous portraiture. Each sitter was rendered akin to a miniature, agonised over. Expression was frowned upon, these new patrons sought to convey permanence rather than fleeting emotions. Indeed, it’s fair to say that the sitters themselves became objectified, somewhat akin to precious artefacts placed upon a walnut sideboard.
For Kübler, this presented opportunities. Born in 1804, Biedermeier was well underway by the time he pursued a career. His style worked. Accurate draughtsmanship coupled with an appreciation for decorative effects. Before long, the commissions flowed.
He’d developed his approach during his formative years by studying the old masters along with leading contemporary artists. In one such work, a copy of a piece by Jacques-Louis David, he added little of his imagination - copying astutely, respectful of his senior peers.
By the 1840s, his career was flourishing. Sitters conveyed precisely while elevating their gentler sensibilities. Occasionally carrying the hint of a smile, suggestive of their relative comfort.
Kübler passed away in 1844 following a short illness, his life ending prematurely. Surely a great loss for his patrons.
The Muzeum Miedzi in Legnica, Poland, holds an example of his work.
Muzeum Miedzi, Legnica.
Born in Legnica, Poland.
Residing in Kamienna Góra, Landeshut, Poland.
Completed a portrait of Captain Traugott Höhne.
Died in Legnica, Poland.