The Merchants Guild
Oil on canvas, signed
Fritz Wagner was a German painter of genre, landscapes and still life who was born in Munich in 1896. He was the son of the genre painter Josef Wagner-Höhenberg (1870-1939). He received his early tuition from his father who greatly influenced his work and later attended art school in Munich under Adolf Schinnerer (1876-1949). He travelled throughout Europe to paint and studied at the Acadamie de la Brera de Milan. He followed in the footsteps of artists such as Meissonier and Lesrel who painted genre subjects with a military or historical theme. Wagner developed his own style with his subjects set in a more informal and relaxed atmosphere, and deliberately chose period costumes which enhanced their decorative value. He also gave each figure a different character allowing the viewer to be drawn into the enfolding visual dialogue. Wagner also paid particular attention to his interiors, often including lots of clutter to give added interest and using windows to add depth to his scenes. Although he uses a soft palette, his skilled draughtsmanship ensures his figures are always well painted and natural, a talent which has made his paintings enduringly popular and highly collectable. Examples of his work can be found in many private and public art collections including the Witt Library.
The painting is housed in its original period gilt frame which is in excellent condition.