Sunday, November 3, 2013
Louisiana paintings by German-born Franz “François” Fleischbein (1801-1868)
François Fleischbein (1804–1868) was a German painter who lived and worked in New Orleans. Better known as François in the U.S., Franz was born in Godramstein, Bavaria. Although often confused with a naïve artist, he was academically trained, having studied with Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767-1824) at the École des beaux-arts in Paris. In 1833, Fleischbein immigrated to New Orleans with his wife, Marie Louise Tetu (1802-1895), and four children. He remained in Louisiana until his death. Jean Joseph Vaudechamp (1790 - 1866) first encouraged Fleischbein to visit. Although born Franz Joseph, Fleischbein decided to change his name to François in order to fit with his Creole clients of Gallic descent.
Fleischbein style fused French neoclassicism with German Biedermeier emphasis on pattern. As result, his paintings appear mannered, with schematic drawing, suppressed transitions of light and shade, and odd anatomical distortions. Patrons appreciated his paintings, and Fleischbein advertized that the "greatest correctness of drawing and painting is guaranteed, as well as the likeness of Portraits." His paintings show a French academic style as well as a sweetness and charm common to 19th Century German painting. With the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839, Fleischbein also worked as an early photographer, an enterprise in which his wife took part.