Biedermeier Style (1815-1848)

The Biedermeier Style, which flourished in Germany, saw the dawn of the art of Romanticism.

Biedermeier Salon with plain wall, dark wood chairs with blue cushions and a dark wood wall cabinet.
Biedermeier Salon in Romania (1928)

Image source: by archer10 (Dennis)

Biedermeier style room painting. Two young ladies and an older woman are drinking tea together while sitting on sofas.
Gossip (1873) by Giovanni Boldini – Oil on wood

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What is the Meaning of Biedermeier?

The Biedermeier style gets its name from the fictional character Gottlieb Biedermeier. The authors of such, Adolf Kussmaul and Ludwig Eichrodt, wrote for a satirical magazine called Munich Fliegende Blatter. Further, the style represents the German middle class as it was created for the public. The word itself is a combination of a simple adjective (bieder, but that also means intact, honest and one of the most famous German surnames: Meier (or Maier).

A light wood piano.
Mahoniehouten Biedermeier tafelpiano (1820,1850) 

Image source: by Museum Rotterdam

Side chair (one of a pair), Circle of Josef Danhauser. Beech and pine wood, cherrywood veneer, ebonized mahogany framing strips; modern silk upholstery.
Side chair (1815–20) – Circle of Josef Danhauser

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The Biedermeier period began with the Congress of Vienna, after the Napoleonic Wars ended. Under the Austrian Chancellor Metternich, conservative politics reacted to the fearful days of the French Revolution. For this reason, Biedermeier was introduced as a Restoration style, or a desire for a normal life.

Important Biedermeier Designers

Despite the conservative politics, it was a period of productive creativityThe most important painters were Franz Krüger, Georg Friedrich Kersting, Julius Oldach, Carl Spitzweg, and Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller.

A painting of a girl embroidering at a table in front of an open window. The whole piece has a green cast to it.
Woman Embroidering (1814) by Georg Friedrich Kersting.

Image source: by fluor_doublet

Josef Danhauser was a painter and designer, born in to an Austrian family of artists. His father was Josef Ulrich Danhauser, and his sketches were quite famous in Europe. Further, several original drawings of his works are preserved today in museums.

Wein, Weib und Gesang: painting of people sitting around a table in a forest.
Wein, Weib und Gesang (1839) by Josef Danhauser

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Portrait of a woman with her brown hair up, in a white outfit, who is looking down with eyes closed.
Frauenporträt (1836) by Josef Danhauser

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Style Characteristics

Painters of this style, often showcase historical fiction and country life, depicting comfortable everyday existence, which was changing by the time of the revolutions in Europe in 1848.  Biedermeier designs come from the simplistic forms of French Empire and Directoire styles. Yet, Vienna was in many ways a relevant center for this style, strong enough to fuse various impulses into a balanced synthesis.  Further, the most important collection of Viennese Biedermeier painting is available in the Belvedere Palace Museum in Vienna.

Biedermeier pieces: An orange couch in the center, with a medium wood clock and a cone-shaped table on the right and left, respectively.
Biedermeier pieces

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