Bruchsal 1809 – 1889 island Reichenau
Margaretha's Longing (from Joseph Victor von Scheffel's "Trumpeter von Säckingen"). 1856
Oil on canvas. Relined. 122 × 155 cm. (48 × 61 in.) Signed and dated lower left: Bensinger 1856. Skillfully repaired.  Framed
ProvenancePrivate Collection, Portugal
Addendum/ErratumThe correct estimate is: EUR 15.000-20.000
EUR 15.000 – 20.000
USD 16,700 – 22,200
The Rediscovery of the Baden Painter Amalie Bensinger
"She has an incredible and, as a woman, truly tremendous talent" - with these words Johann Wolfgang von Goethe not only acknowledges the talent of Amalie Bensinger, but immediately outlines a leitmotif of her career: as a painter she was an - obviously unexpected - exceptional phenomenon for her male contemporaries and colleagues, who knew how to hold her own with self-confidence and brilliant virtuosity.
Growing up as the daughter of a well-established merchant family in Mannheim, the young Amalie followed her enthusiasm for painting to Düsseldorf to take private lessons. Although she was denied admission to the academy as a woman, she was to excel as a pupil of Karl Ferdinand Sohn and Wilhelm von Schadow. However, her trip to Italy in 1851/52 was to have a particularly formative influence on her further career. In Rome she quickly made contact with the local Nazarenes and became particularly enthusiastic about the paintings of Friedrich Overbeck and Peter von Cornelius. The idea of an artists' community for women, modelled on the Nazarenes, which first emerged here, was to occupy Amalie for a long time to come.
Among the new friendships formed in Albano and Olevano was that with Joseph Victor von Scheffel. He describes her as an "enfant terrible who hangs around in Italy in a baroque manner, but who has a serious sense of art despite her manly courage". She inspired the poet to write a scene for his Ekkehart, in return for which he used Amalie as a character in his first work, " The Trumpeter of Säckingen". The verse epos was to become one of the most successful and most widely read stories of the 19th century. The love story is based on true events and tells of Margaretha and Werner, who were denied to be together because of their difference in rank. Initially separated by fate, the lovers' paths crossed again in Rome, where they were finally allowed to marry through spiritual guidance.
In her painting of 1856, Amalie Bensinger presents the female protagonist Margaretha in a self-confident format, rather than the titular Trumpeter of Säckingen. Still in melancholy, mourning and longing, with the rose as a symbol of love in her descending hand, Margaretha follows her older companion.
Anchored in the Nazarene-Romantic style, Amalie Bensinger's painting is primarily devoted to genre scenes, literary subjects and Christian pictorial motifs. She particularly liked to place female protagonists at the centre of her paintings. Far ahead of her time, she pursued the dream of an "art monastery" for women until the end of her life. For this purpose she had acquired her own "Schlössle" [a mansion] on the island of Reichenau on Lake Constance. However, the plan could not be realised.
Many of Amalie Bensinger's works, which were part of a collection in Mannheim, fell victim to the bombing of the city in 1943/44. The artist's modern life and masterfully executed œuvre have been forgotten and are eagerly awaiting rediscovery.
Constanze Hager and Luca Joel Meinert
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