Ignaz-Marcel Gaugengigl (German/American, 1855–1932)
The Painter, ca. 1883
Oil on panel, 8 1/4 x 5 5/8 in.
Inscribed and signed bottom right: THE PAINTER I.M. GAUGENGIGL
Born in Bavaria and trained at the Royal Academy in Munich, Gaugengigl immigrated to Boston in 1878, where he eventually became a sought-after portraitist and teacher, most notably of the American Impressionist painter Childe Hassam (1859–1935). He specialized in small-scale genre scenes and studio interiors in the style of the renowned Frenchman Ernest Meissonier (1815–1891). This painting of an artist in 18th-century attire studying his incomplete picture exemplifies the intimate and decorative sensibility that informs Gaugengigl’s work. This private moment becomes a shared one as Gaugengigl invites the viewer to look over the artist’s shoulder at a Rococo confection of Venus and Cupid, whose amorous antics contrast with the surrounding mood of contemplation.