Exhibition | Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, 1733–1794

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 7, 2014

From Bern’s Kunstmuseum:

Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, 1733–1794: A Very English Swiss
Kunstmuseum, Bern, 17 January — 21 March 2014

Curated by William Hauptman with Therese Bhattacharya-Stettler

41XGub84JrL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Samuel Hieronymus Grimm (1733–1794) is being presented in a comprehensive exhibition for the very first time. He pursued a career as topographer, illustrator, caricaturist and painter of watercolors, acquiring quite a reputation especially in England.

Grimm was born in Burgdorf and was initially devoted to poetry. Around 1760 he became interested in painting and took lessons with Johann Ludwig Aberli (1723–1786). In 1765 he went to Paris to continue his art studies with Jean-Georges Wille (1715–1808). There Grimm focused on landscape painting, going on long hikes with his art teacher in the countryside. In 1768 he moved to London, where he stayed for the rest of his life, working as both an illustrator and a caricaturist. With biting humor Grimm portrayed British society, fashion and politics. Around 1773, he was commissioned by Sir Richard Kaye to paint to watercolors. Kaye was to become one of his most devoted patrons, giving Grimm carte blanche to capture everything he found ‘unusual’. 2600 watercolors and drawings illustrating everyday subjects in Britain, the country’s architecture and the mores of its people were the outcome of Kaye’s patronage, producing a veritable illustrated encyclopedia of Georgian England during the 18th century. Grimm had numerous additional well-known personages as his patrons whom he accompanied on trips in England and Wales.

Grimm’s great popularity is due to the exactness of his representations; he was renowned for his speed with the pen, his moderate prices, and the perfection of his technique in sketching and painting outdoors. Specialists on British art see in Grimm one of the most talented topographers of his generation, his watercolors leave nothing to be desired and are equal to those of the best British masters of the time.

The exhibition combines examples from every genre Grimm worked in and will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue in German and English. Prof. William Hauptman, Lausanne, is curator of the show, a great specialist for the period. Already in 1996 he was in charge of organizing the large John Webber exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bern. Dr. Therese Bhattacharya-Stettler is co-curator.

William Hauptman, Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, 1733–1794: A Very English Swiss (Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2014), 224 pages, ISBN: 978-8874396627, €35 / $45.

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