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Georg Flegel

Biographies
Georg Flegel

*  1566 Olmütz (Olomouc)
† 1638 Frankfurt am Main


Georg Flegel was born son of a shoemaker at Olmütz in Moravia, nowadays Czech Republic, in 1566. He received lessons in art from the painters family van Valckenborch, predominantly from Lucas van Valckenborch in Linz and not in the Netherlands, as it had long been assumed. When his teacher relocated to Frankfurt am Main in 1592/93, Georg Flegel, who had already worked for him as staffage painter, went along. By that time the painter had already married Brigitta, who would give birth to seven children.
In Frankfurt am Main Georg Flegel unfolded rich artistic activities: He was given civil rights in 1597, owed to a reference from his teacher; it seems he became an independent still life painter around that time. Georg Flegel advanced to be on of Europe´s most important early baroque still life painters and was its first German representative.
Georg Flegel´s path to still life painting, a new type of genre emerging in those days, led through the execution of such arrangements in van Valckenborch´s larger compositions (late 1580s) and presumably also in works by other painters. In the late 16th century Georg Flegel ennobled the still life details to independent motifs.
His works were soon met with positive response. Duke Philipp II. of Pommerania-Stettin, the count of Erbach and the Granvelle family from Besançon were among his clients. For sure, buyers were also attracted by the motifs´ high representational value, as Georg Flegel depicted valuable luxury goods in many of his still lives, before he attained more formal and reduced, simpler compositions in a late period of creation.
The objects shown in Georg Flegel´s paintings seemed to have been out of reach for him. Sources regarding tax payments and sideline jobs such as sign or carriage painting show that Georg Flegel did not belong among the well-off painters of is epoch. Georg Flegel presumably led a workshop with Jacob Marrell and his sons Friedrich Flegel and Jacob Flegel among his students.
Works on paper by Georg Flegel were also popular, charming watercolor studies of flowers, fruits and insects, partly executed in a painting-like manner.
In 1638 Georg Flegel died at Frankfurt am Main.