..............The Minuet by Frederik Kaemmerer Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer 1839-1902 Dutch
Signed F.H. Kaemmerer (lower right) Oil on canvas
Canvas: 38 ½ high x 63 wide Frame: 47 high x 70 ¾ wide In this sensuous work entitled The Minuet, Dutch artist Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer deftly juxtaposes the grace and gentility of polite society with its illicit and scantily disguised underpinnings. As the ladies and gentlemen dance in the foreground, the activities of the partys other guests, including an officers harassment of a maid, slyly draw the viewers attention. Set in an open space among ruins and trampled flowers, Kaemmerer skillfully captures the natural aspects of human nature, despite societys attempts to tame it. Beautifully executed in great detail, this painting is one of the largest Kaemmerer ever executed, and is an incredible example of his great mastery of color and composition.
Born in the Hague, Holland in 1839, Kaemmerer divided his life between his native city and Paris. A student of painter and sculptor Jean-Léon Gérôme, Kaemmerer made his professional début in 1870. He began his career by painting landscapes and historic genre scenes inspired by the social mores of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He achieved a great deal of success particularly with his portraits of subjects from eras of the Directoire and the First Empire, as well as with his small, highly finished portraits of elegant women. These merveilleuses, painted in lively colors with a meticulous touch, were, like the work of William Bouguereau, extremely popular with the American clientele. In 1874, Kemmerer won a medal of Paris, and in 1889, he won a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle and was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. As his career progressed, Kaemmerers manner and brushwork became much freer. In fact, certain works, particularly landscapes, display the bold brushstrokes and vibrant colors of Impressionism.
In 1902, at the age of 63, Kaemmerer ended his life in his Paris workshop.
Artists Museums: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Musée des Beaux Arts, Mulhouse, France Washington Museum
Dictionnaire des Peintres, Scultpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 1976, E. Bénézit Davenports Art Reference, 1994, R. J. Davenport