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Albert Anker paintings April 30, 2016

Posted by anagasto in art, painting.
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This was about 130 years ago. There had been a war, and many children had become orphans. They were collected by the town authorities, and then rich people came to look at them and adopt some.

As you can see from the children’s faces, they understood, feared or even hated what was going on. See how they try to back away from the advancing benefactors.

And in the foreground there is a little poor boy being lead away by a rich lady and her son. Look how Anker caught the expression of pain and humiliation on the kid’s face: he acts as if he were too proud to talk!.

Notice the typical Swiss inner-city architecture.

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This is the notary public.

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This is some 160 years ago, and things have changed a lot since, but  kids haven’t. The girls are learning, but the boys are bored stiff or are trying to entertain each other.

On the right towards the back there are two intelligent looking ones that are taken up by a most interesting private conversation. One of them could be a future lawyer and the other one, seen from the back, a doctor, and just beside them is the kid that needs to steal all of the show. He would be hollering to the photographer. Maybe he will become a politician or a bum.

And in front of them all,  the master of ceremonies poorly paid to keep the kids from breaking out of the cage. What do parents expect?

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They are on a little excursion. There are more girls than boys. Girls had to help at home all year around, whereas  boys were needed when there was work to do in the fields.

Many of the children are barefoot. Shoes were expensive. There is a little girl in black and first in line. She is the only one well dressed.

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Learning How to Knit

All of these pictures are in public domain at http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Anker, most with large versions of 1.5 megas or more..

tn_Anker_Turnstunde_in_Ins_1879

It’s the gym class. It has changed very much, not just in appearance, but also in purpose. These boys are actually learning how to march. The purpose of the class is maybe just discipline. Fitness is taken for granted, and yet these boys do look somewhat clumsy. I think that is due to fashion, though of course I may be wrong.

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tn_Anker_Die_kleine_Kartoffelschälerin_1886

She is peeling potatoes. Except for the clothes and the hairdo, this hasn’t changed at all, though now nobody would paint it, because it has become less of a concept; there are other types of food, other ways of preparing it.

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The painter, Albert Anker, is well known and liked in Switzerland.

Anker himself was well received. He started out as a student of theology, but then talked his father into letting him study painting, and the father, maybe reluctantly, accepted and financed the choice.

So Anker studied in Paris at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts and for 30 years he regularly exhibited his work at the  great galleries.

He became a knight of the French Légion d’honneur and a member of the Grand Council of Bern, where he advocated the construction of the Kunstmuseum Bern. He was an artist and yet a useful member of society: imagine that.
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Postscript Feb5, 2016.
The painting of the gym class was sold for a record CHF7.5 million ($8 million) at the Koller auction house in Zurich.

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