This early 20th-century expressive oil painting by German artist Karl Weickgenannt (1896-1976) depicts the Galatea Fountain in Karlsruhe.
Backlit at dusk, the fountain stands silhouetted. The form of Galatea, a figure from Greek mythology, visible amid slender trees. Beyond, the gentle tints of distant foliage provide a near-ethereal glow.
The name Galatea refers to a statue, which was so alluring, that its creator, Pygmalion of Cyprus, fell deeply in love with it. His wild obsession, coupled with endless prayers, eventually led to the goddess Aphrodite bringing it to life and uniting the couple in marriage.
Numerous sculptors have produced works depicting Galatea with some of those forming part of decorative fountains such as this one in Weickgenannt’s home town of Karlsruhe. It remains to be seen whether any of them came to life.
Weickgenannt’s rendering of the fountain in silhouette is quite poignant as ‘Galatea’ translates from Greek as ‘she who is milk-white’. By portraying the statue without light, could it be a reference to a lost love?
Signed lower left and held within a gilt frame.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 16” x 22” / 40cm x 56cm
Year of creation: c. 1930
Labels & Inscriptions: Label on reverse.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.
Karl Weickgenannt (1896-1976) was a painter and graphic artist who was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. He became a professor at the Goldsmith School in Pforzheim.