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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2010

Julia Kuehn*
The University of Hong Kong


Elisabeth Baumann was born in Warsaw in 1819 to a German mapmaker, Philip Adolph Baumann, and his German wife, Johanne Frederikke Reyer. Her early training took her to Berlin and, from 1838, to the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, a leading one in its day. According to Hans Christian Andersen, who would later write a biography of his friend Elisabeth, the famous German painter Peter von Cornelius much admired Baumann's paintings, and speaking of them he declared, “She is the only real man in the Düsseldorf school,” which was doubtlessly meant as a compliment (see Andersen, qtd. in Von Folsach 83). In Düsseldorf, Baumann was influenced by the prevailing realist trend of the Academy but added to it an idealistic and sensuous quality that would become her distinctive mark. After the completion of her training in 1845, Baumann went to Rome where she met the Danish sculptor Jens Adolf Jerichau, one of the outstanding talents of his time, whom she married a year later. The couple settled in Denmark in 1849 (although Jerichau-Baumann kept a studio in Rome) as Jens Adolf became a professor at, and later President of, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.

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