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date: 19 October 2019

Schramm, Alexanderlocked

(b Berlin, 1814; d Adelaide, Nov 6, 1864).
  • Ron Radford

Extract

(b Berlin, 1814; d Adelaide, Nov 6, 1864).

Australian painter and printmaker of German birth. He was the most important artist working in the colony of South Australia in the second half of the 19th century. He trained at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, where his portraits and genre subjects were shown in most of the biennial exhibitions from 1834 to 1848. He travelled for three years in Italy before working in Warsaw between 1838 and 1844. His painting Boating Party of Berlin Artists near Treptow (1838; Berlin, Märk. Mus.) reveals his interest in outdoor genre subjects, which continued in Australia in his Aboriginal paintings.

Like thousands of other Germans at this period, Schramm moved to South Australia, arriving in Adelaide on 7 August 1849. He worked there until his death 15 years later. Schramm’s fascination with the Aborigines, at a time when their tribal life was being disrupted by white settlement, is evident in his oil paintings and less frequent watercolours, drawings and lithographs. His work is distinctive in colonial art for his sympathetic, yet unsentimental, portrayal of Aboriginal Australians, as, for example, in ...

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