Whilst little is known about the painter Erich Taefflinger, his work belies the popular trends in art sweeping through Germany in the late-19th-century. This indicates he was a painter of skill and verve.
Taefflinger took part in the third annual International Watercolour Exhibition which was held in Dresden in 1892. Perhaps he lived in this city during his life. Dresden would certainly have been suitable, the city being dubbed ‘the Florence of the Elbe,’ holding great collections of art. During the 19th-century, watercolour saw rising respect as a painterly medium across Europe. Historically it had been seen as a more preparatory practice, not as venerated as oil. That an international exhibit was taking place and that Taefflinger was participating says much about the rising importance of watercolour for artists.
Taefflinger’s choice of subject, too, is significant. He displayed a still life depicting fruit and nuts. Sat upon a glossy tabletop, the shiny lacquer mirrors the foods in a ghostly reflection. Taefflinger effectively creates depth and tone, shading in various shades of tangerine and peach. Such a subject had also been seen historically as lesser than other kinds. However, in the 19th-century, still life was also gaining respect as a subject in its own right. Evidently, Taefflinger recognised this and wanted to throw his own work into the rising collections across Europe.
Another work by Taefflinger suggests an interest in German history and the much more traditional subjects of art. In 1891 Taefflinger executed a historical piece depicting German Duke Frederick William I at the Battle of Fehrbellin, which took place in the 17th-century. With suitable pomp and drama, the duke and his men sweep across a body-littered battlefield. Such subject matter was highly respected in the art world. Perhaps Taefflinger received praise for this piece. Whatever the case, that he executed, too, works of a more budding nature, does much to indicate he was keen to experiment and broaden his artistic horizons.
Painted ‘Frederick William I in the battle of Fehrbellin.’
Took part in the third annual International Watercolour Exhibition in Dresden.