Von Herkomer

17 Dec

I plan to present a talk on the artist von Herkomer. He was famous in the late1800s and the early 1900s. One of his paintings was hung in the Royal Academy when he was 20!! Later in his life he was honoured to be asked to paint Queen Victoria on her deathbed–a rare accolade for a commoner.

So, an immensely talented and versatile man, but after his death in 1914 his star fell dramatically. Why is it that some reputations ride the wave of fame long term, whilst others quickly sink into oblivion? Talent and changing appreciation of styles are obviously important, but I think von Herkomer’s fall from grace was greatly influenced by his German connections (the von is a clue)! He was born in Bavaria and often travelled there in the summer months. At the time preceding the First World War this would have been considered provocative (although many of the British upper class had German connections). Von Herkomer died in 1914, and after the carnage of W.W.1 the taint of a German affiliation would have precluded continued fame.

Recently his star is beginning to ascend again. His paintings are held in important galleries throughout England and in the States. He lived in Bushey, Hertfordshire, which houses a comprehensive collection of his paintings.

Any comments will be appreciated!!




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