Leibl, Wilhelm(vĭl`hĕlm lī`bəl), 1844–1900, German genre and portrait painter. He studied in Munich where numerous painters came under his influence; the "Leibl group" shared his predilection for the realistic perfection of the old masters. He left Munich to paint the rural people of Bavaria, owing much in his technique to an understanding of Holbein's works. His most famous picture, Three Women in Church (1878–81; Hamburg), marks the height of meticulous naturalism but is also a subtly composed study.
Born Oct. 23,1844, in Cologne; died Dec. 4, 1900, in Wurzburg. German painter.
Between 1864 and 1869, Leibl studied at the Academy of Arts in Munich under K. von Piloty. In 1869 and 1870 he was in Paris, where he was influenced by G. Courbet. Leibl subsequently headed a group of Munich realist artists; beginning in 1873 he worked in villages in Upper Bavaria.
One of the major 19th-century realist painters, Leibi primarily painted portraits and scenes from the everyday life of the patriarchal Bavarian peasantry. He strove not so much to depict activity as to re-create full and vivid characters in an extremely lifelike, bold, and sculptural manner. Leibl’s early works, such as Portrait of Szineyei-Merse (1869, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest), The Courtesan (1870, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne), and The Old Herr Pallenberg (1871, Wallraf-Richartz Museum), reflect the influence of French realist painting. Leibl later drew upon the heritage of German Renaissance art, as seen in his Three Women in Church (1878–82, Kunsthalle, Hamburg). Leibl’s last works, marked by a free, soft technique and filled with air and light, are close to impressionism (for example, The Spinner, 1892, Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig).
REFERENCESRompler, K. Wilhelm LeibL Dresden, 1955.
Langer, A. Wilhelm LeibL Leipzig, 1961.