Heinrich Bürkel, 1802 Pirmasens - 1869 Munich
Return from the Bear Hunt
Signed lower left. Oil on canvas. 59 x 84.5 cm. Relined. Restored. Minor damage to frame. According to writings from the time, in 1834 a large bear was spotted in the Rohntal in Hinterriß. No bear had been seen or killed in this area since 1807. In October 1835, the bear was caught and shot near Ruhpolding. This caused a sensation and was undoubtedly reported with various imaginative elaborations in the newspapers. Heinrich Bürkel, the unparalleled portrayer of the alpine life of his epoch, was also obviously deeply impressed by this event: beginning in 1834, he painted several variations on the theme "Return from the Bear Hunt". In a merry pageant similar to a triumphal march, the successful shooter, wearing a red and white ribbon and sprigs of fir on his hat, is carried to the village. Even the mayor makes an appearance, whilst women and children gather in front of their houses or on the roadside to receive him along the way. The large brown bear is pulled along in front by horse and cart. Literature: Feuchtmüller, Rupert and others, Die Alpen im Biedermeier. Friedrich Gauermann und seine Malerfreunde in Wien und München. Rosenheim City Gallery, Exhibition Catalogue, 16 October - 29 November, 1987. Rosenheim 1987, catalogue number 163 (with illustration). - Bühler, Hans-Peter / Krückl, Albrecht, Heinrich Bürkel. With catalogue raisonné of the paintings. Munich 1989, p. 274, catalogue raisonné no. 427 (with illustration): there dated circa 1853/55. - Cf. Buerkel, Luigi, Heinrich Bürkel 1802-1869. Ein Malerleben der Biedermeierzeit. Munich 1940, p. 146 onwards, catalogue raisonné numbers 536, 571, 575 and 584: various versions of the "Return from the Bear Hunt" or the "Bear Procession" from the years 1853-55.