Leopold Pollak



Artist's Biography & Works For Sale


Pollak was born in Lodenitz on November the 8th 1806 to a prosperous Jewish merchant. He showed an early talent for painting and in 1819 entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where he studied for five years under the Director of the Academy Joseph Bergler. He continued his studies in Vienna with Johann Peter Krafft and later under the sponsorship of his parents, moved to Rome in 1831 to complete his artistic education, studying under the painter Leopold Schutz.

From 1832 he joined the circle of German-speaking artists in Rome and was a founder member of the Deutscher Kunstler Verein (Federation of German artists). These links found expression in a series of fourteeen portrait drawings of fellow artists which he executed for the Deutsche Kunstlerbuch (an album of portraits of German artists), which included a portrait of Winterhalter.

The major early influence on his career was the German artist August Riedel whom he met in Rome and whose portrait by Pollak is now in Munich. Pollak emulated both the subject matter and the style of Riedel whose beautifully lit and well-crafted genre paintings of elegant peasant families wearing traditional costume were a major source of inspiration. He was probably also influenced by the picturesque genre paintings of Roman and Neapolitan peasants wearing colourful costumes popularised by the French émigré artist Leopold Robert.