[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]
August von Pettenkofen (attributed) [1821/2-1889]
Militia or The Rural Guard
oil on board / 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches
Pettenkofen is represented in the Community Collection by two small works (signed “a.p.”) and possibly by two others similar in size, style and provenance. “Militia” or “The Rural Guard” was owned by the Wasserman family, emigrants to the United States from their native Austria. Franz and Edith Wasserman had come in the 1890s; Edith’s brother Reinhold Kölb in the 1920s to escape the rise of Fascism, which may link the group of paintings more strongly with the Kölbs. How the paintings were acquired and whether they came together or separately is unknown.
August Xaver Karl Ritter von Pettenkofen abandoned his military career in order to pursue artistic endeavors. He is best known for his renderings of peasant and village life in the Hungarian plains or “puszta,” which he may have come to appreciate during military service with his troop in the early 1840s. A trip to Paris in 1852 exposed him to the Barbizon School’s preoccupation with rural themes.