To most of us the work of the great masters will not be accessible. That is unless you are an art historian, critic, student or you live very close to a large metropolitan gallery or museum. Even more difficult would be the works of turn of the century German landscape artists. Such is the case of one such artist, Ludwig Muninger.
Born in southern Germany in 1929, Ludwig Muninger spent many years studying in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Landscape painting seemed to have reached the peak of its popularity with the noted Dutch artists of the 18th century, and again gained fame with the Dusseldorf and Munich style in the 19th century. While honoring the work of the past, Ludwig Muninger established a new level of greatness with his winterscape paintings in the mid-20th century. His originals are in galleries and private collections all over the world. Prints of his originals were first published in 1957. Each print has been reproduced in the thousands on various types of media.
How I discovered Herr Muninger was through, of all things, a porcelain art plate. I came across it as a fluke. I was at an estate sale that had 100’s of collector plates still in their original boxes. I opened a few and saw the usual sneering Elvises, cats driving cars, Norman Rockwell reproductions, etc…, Then I opened a box that caught me quite by surprise. It seemed to be almost alive in its depth and vivid depiction of people in period clothes on ice skates. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The muted colors, the cool sun, you could almost see their breath as they breathed their warm, moist air into the cold winter air. I was captivated.
I read the paperwork and learned the name of the artist and the painting “Ice Skaters in the Evening Sun” I started looking through the other boxes and came across other plates with reproductions Muninger’s work. They were gorgeous! It occurred to me as I read the information about the artist and the work itself I would have never known about this wonderful artist had I not discovered this porcelain reproduction. It gave me a whole new view of the world of collector plates and porcelain art plates. This was a way that people could appreciate some great works that otherwise would remain in obscurity but for the chosen few. These plates are no cheesy reproductions. They are carefully and lovingly presented in a way we can all appreciate.
In December 1976, Art magazine DECOR featured a motif of the artist on its front page. In 1997 Muninger died at the young age of 68.
Several works by the artist have recently been sold at auction, including ‘Mountain Landscape with Two Travelers at Dusk’ sold at Jackson’s ‘Important Russian, Asian, European & American Fine Art & Antiques’ in 2013.
If you have any experience with the works of this fine artist I would love for you to share them with me. I would also be very appreciative of any information as to where some of Herr Munninger’s works might be viewed.