Bust of the Painter Johann Michael Wittmer - Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

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Bust of the Painter Johann Michael Wittmer

Aguirre, Marcial

Bergara, Gipuzkoa, 23/11/1840-San Sebastián, 10/05/1900


83.5 x 58.5 x 35.5 cm

c. 1870-1875

Second half of the 19th century


Donated by Pilar and María Aguirre Izaga in 1992

By the late 1860s he was an established artist, and in 1869 his marriage to Lavinia Wittmer, daughter of one of the later Nazarene painters, Johann Michael Wittmer, and granddaughter on her mother's side of one of the oldest members of the group, Joseph Anton Koch, opened the doors to a new circle of friends and clients, the Germans resident in Rome.

Almost certainly dating from the early seventies, before his return to Gipuzkoa, the busts of his parents-in-law would have been a helpful reminder of them for his wife. Curiously, the two works are quite different, not only in size but also in the degree of realism used. Both are imbued with the desire for realism, but while Wittmer's has the air of an official portrait, his wife's is more intimate. [Mikel Lertxundi]

Selected bibliography

  • De Goya a Gauguin : el siglo XIX en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 269-272, n° cat. 46.
  • Guía Artistas Vascos. Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, 2008. pp. 24-25.
  • Gida Euskal Artistak. Bilbao, Bilboko Arte Eder Museoa, 2008. pp. 24-25.
  • Arretxea Sanz, Larraitz ; Lertxundi Galiana, Mikel. El escultor Marcial Aguirre = Marcial Aguirre eskultorea. Bergara, Ayuntamiento de Bergara = Bergarako Udala, 2010. pp. 90-91, 222-223.
  • Guide Basque Artists. Bilbao, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, 2012. pp. 24-25, n° cat. 8b.