Heinrich Breling (Burgdorf near Hanover 1849 – 1914 Fischerhude)

Interior of the ‘Moroccan House’ at Linderhof Castle, c. 1881

Watercolour and gouache – 350 mm × 402 mm

Signed, lower right, HBreling

Breling received his first artistic training at Hannover, at the expense of the King of Hannover. After his return from the German-French war of 1870-71, he transferred to the Munich Academy where he studied with Wilhelm Diez, a well-known battle painter. He participated in exhibitions at the Munich Kunstakademie, some of which King Ludwig II of Bavaria visited, and subsequently received his first commissions from the court. Breling’s meticulous and narrative style delighted both the Bavarian King and members of his court. In 1883 he was appointed professor at the academy and in 1884 became court painter (Hofmaler). Following the unsolved death of his patron, Ludwig II, and a change in style at the Academy towards the Jugendstil, Breling returned first to Hannover and then to his native Fischerhude.

Ludwig II appears to have discovered his love of Orientalism in the 1860s. For his pleasure he commissioned several pavilions for the park at Linderhof castle (1874-78), the ‘Moorish Kiosk’ in 1876 , and then, in 1878 he asked his architect Georg von Dollmann (Ansbach 1830–1895 Munich) to purchase the most beautiful oriental pavilion from the Great Exhibition in Paris, the so-called ‘Moroccan House’. It arrived disassembled at Linderhof in November 1878 and was set up that year not far away from the castle near the Austrian border. In addition to other projects, Breling was commissioned a series of watercolours of the castle’s exterior and interior and of the various garden pavilions[1]. Brelings watercolour of the interior of the ‘Moroccan House,’ signed lower left H Breling,[2] can be dated to 1881 because it was in that year that Breling was paid the sum of 2,250 marks for a new set of Linderhof views entitled ‘Grotto in Pink and the Moroccan House.’ Our drawing is an almost identical version of the interior view mentioned above. Breling’s view of the interior was of great help in the restoration of the ‘Moroccan House’carried out in the 1990s. Since1998 the pavilion has been open to the public.[3]

[1] Michael Petzet Gebaute Träume: die Schlösser Ludwigs II. von Bayern, Munich 1995, pp.161-67, illustrated

[2] Michael Petzet (ed.), König Ludwig II und die Kunst, exhibition catalogue, Munich, 1968, pp.66-67, no.877, illustrated, now in the Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfond (WAF Inv.no. 307).

[3] The kiosk was sold in 1891 to Oberammergau and bought back in 1980.