Koller, Wilhelm (Guillaume) (1829-84; Austrian/ Belgian)
Parting from Betrothed (Le Départ du Fiancé) 1864
Oil on wood panel, 71.2 x 57.8 cm
Purchased, 1864 (advice of Charles Eastlake)
National Gallery of Victoria (p.300.17-1)
One of the first paintings bought by the Commissioners of Fine Arts on Eastlake’s advice. Echoing historical romances of the period, it typifies the oeuvre of this artist, who was active mainly in Brussels.
Ann Galbally (1992) comments that it exemplified Eastlake’s interest in pictures that “showed the workings of history upon the lives of ordinary people.”
According to the entry in the 1894 NGV catalogue, Koller “spent much time on his works.” Nevertheless, the picture is in mediocre condition, exhibiting considerable cracking of the paint surface.
NGV 1875, p.23; NGV 1879, p.5; NGV 1894, p.28 (I.La Trobe Gallery, no.35; ill.); NGV 1905, p.22 (I.La Trobe Gallery, no.40) [£262/10]
NGV 1879 notes that the work was bought from the well-known dealer Gambart; see Galbally & others, The First Collections (1992), pp.40 (quoted) and 46 (cat.no.8), also citing various late 19th-century Australian responses; the NGV’s online catalogue entry also provides further information on the work’s provenance
For Koller, see Bénézit 7, p.1437 (listing the present work, and listing auction results); he is not listed in AKL