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Johann Jakob Mettenleiter "Self-portrait with engraver J. E. Haid", oil on copper, early 1780s
FINAL DISCOUNT PRICE= 8500 USD
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Very rare and extremely important work of well-known German-Russian artist of the turn of the 19th century, Johann Jakob Mettenleiter.
Until today known only through a 1784 mezzotint by the artist's friend and colleague Johann Elias Haid (1739-1809; see our images nr.10-11) it is a double friendship portrait showing the artist himself (on the left) with his friend Haid (on the right).
An article by art historian Marianne A. Yule published in the September 2020 issue of "Print Quarterly", vol. XXXVII, No. 3, London (pp. 294-299), brings a very detailed description of this painting and the corresponding mezzotint (see our images nr.12-14).
Johann Jakob Mettenleiter was born in 1750 in Grosskuchen by Neresheim, Kingdom Wuerttemberg (present day province Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany), and died in 1825 in St. Petersburg. He began studying art under J.G. Zink in Neresheim; then, studied with painter Urban in Schwabisch-Gmuend. In Neresheim he met historical painter and portraitist Martin Knoller and took additional art lessons from him as well. He received his final art training from Mannheim court artist Carl Heinrich Brandt, who was also his principal teacher. Mettenleiter spent some time in the latter's studio, then worked in Stuttgart and, in 1773, went abroad. In 1773 he became a soldier of the Dutch military service and traveled to Dutch Cape Colony (Kaapkolonie in South Africa), where he too became active as a portraitist painter. Having returned to Europe in 1776, the artist lived in Rome (1776/77), in Munich, Augsburg and Vienna.
In 1786 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he became a teacher at the Imperial Academy and a court artist. In Russia, besides painting genre scenes and portraits, he produced ceiling and wall decorations for various royal residences and churches. From 1801 Mettenleiter was in service of the widowed empress Maria Fedorovna. Commissioned by the latter, the artist executed paintings, furniture designs, and participated in restoration of the halls of Pavlovsk Palace (after the fire of 1803).
From 1778 he was married to the daughter of Augsburg artist Johann Baur. The couple had three sons Michael, Joseph, and Paul. As Mettenleiter's wife died in 1810/11 all three of them were still living. At least one of the three brothers, Paul, became a renowned artist who, alike his father worked for the Russian Court. He was born in 1792/93 in St. Petersburg. Hence, on our painting, he is portrayed at the age of 17 or 18.
On March 24th 1824 Johann Jacob Mettenleiter had written in a letter to his brother living in Germany: "…I am 74 now, and I am aware of my own strength decline and memory lapses. I can no longer leave the room without the help of a cane… Indeed, I have been relieved of my duties, but her Imperial Majesty has not deprived me of her mercy and, for my longstanding service, granted me with pension fully equivalent to my previous wage… My youngest son has replaced me and began working for Her Majesty."
A few months later, on the 25th of February 1825, Mettenleiter died in Gatchina by St. Petersburg.
Our images nr.15-21 offer extensive biographical information about J. J. Mettenleiter borrowed from Russian sources. Our images nr.22-24 show several of his oil on copper paintings offered at art auction market in the last years.
Provenance: private collection, Baden-Baden
Condition: good for its age; some cracklees
Creation Year: early 1780s
Measurements: UNFRAMED:31,2x37,6cm/12,3x14,8in FRAMED: 47,5x53,8cm/18,7x21,2in
Object Type: Framed oil painting
Style: Old Master paintings
Technique: oil on copper
Creator: Johann Jakob Mettenleiter
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1750 Grosskuchen-1825 St. Petersburg
Nationality: German / Russian
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