Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Ferdinand Kaufmann (1864-1942)
When I was growing up in Denver, I was always drawn to these two little boat paintings by Ferdinand Kaufmann when I would see them in my grandparents’ apartment. The foggy colors and subtle values expressed the hazy California climate, so different from high, dry Colorado (the paintings always made me think of California because my grandparents had lived there, but, looking at Kaufmann's bio, I realize they could have been painted on the east coast). I had never seen mossy pilings or deep, still water like that, but these 12”x16” plein-air oils gave an accurate impression, and I realized, Hmm...it’s a big world out there.
It certainly was a big world for Ferdinand Kaufmann. He was born in Oberhausen, Germany, immigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a teenager, then went to Paris where he studied with Laurens, Bouguereau and Constant at the Julien Academy, and with Manet. He returned to Pittsburgh after six years in Europe, and painted plein-air in New England, New Mexico, Arizona and California. He became well known for landscapes, coastal vistas, figure studies and ship paintings. In 1921, he bought a home in Pasadena and later a studio-home in Laguna Beach. He remained active until his death in 1942.
– Sarah Judson