Artist Otto Eduard Voigt drew inspiration from his work as a ceramic painter in the genre scenes and still life paintings he executed during his lifetime.
Voigt’s primary vocation was as one of the many hardworking, skilled ceramic painters in the factories throughout his homeland of Germany. He was first trained at Villeroy & Bosch in his hometown of Dresden before moving on first to the Royal Porcelain Factor in Berlin, and finally to the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. This is where he would spend the majority of his career, and the styles that decorated the ceramics produced by the factory would influence, too, Voigt’s own artistic predilections.
Under Erich Hösel (1869-1953), the desired style for the Meissen porcelain drew inspiration from the gilded glamour of the 18th-century rococo aesthetic. Plates and crockery of a perfect white shine were decorated with vivid images of flowers passionately in bloom, of peacocks strutting proudly across fine-bone canvas. Vivid in colouring, the workmanship had to be precise and delicate. This would have taken much skill, and Voigt surely picked up an attention to detail which he would come to transfer to his other artistic works.
The remaining genre scenes he executed demonstrate how this continuous production of historic stylings influenced his artistic tastebuds. Voigt often depicts figures in the dress of different centuries. A woman is adorned in a simple yet elegant gown of the early 19th century. There is a sickly-sweet quality to her dress, the vibrant blue which drapes her not dissimilar to the enticing colouring added to confectionery. Yet there is a realism in her surroundings which demonstrate Voigt’s clear attention to detail. Shadows fall across a room decorously furnished with striped wallpaper, giving it depth whilst also drawing attention to the woman.
This focus on the decadent and fashionable is also translated from the Meissen ceramics. Voigt depicts women admiring themselves in mirrors or adjusting the final accessories which complete their eye-catching outfits. This is all done with an elegance of movement in the figures. A lady adjusting her glove draws attention to the swanlike bend of her wrist. A woman peering into a mirror does so with her arms bent to capture the delicate skin of her wrists. He is able to combine character with resplendent colouring and detail, creating visually rich paintings.
The many delicate flowers which graced the Meissen ceramics also occupy Voigt’s artistic oeuvre. His many studies demonstrate a delicacy of touch, blushing pink petals fragile beauties as liable to break as tissue paper. There is once again a realistic attention to detail in the shading and choices of colour which offset what might perhaps be an overwhelming sense of decadence. Voigt had clearly learnt from his profession to balance delicacy with exuberance.
Born in Dresden, Germany.
Ceramic painter at the Royal Porcelain Factory, Berlin.
Ceramic painter at the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory.
Died in Meissen, Germany.