Elderly Farmer and Young Girl
The Ill-Matched Couple
Oil on canvas
Inv. No. 1340 (Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.)
79 × 62 cm
For Wilhelm Leibl, the most distinguished exponent of Realist painting in Germany, the individual characterization of the human being is the overriding artistic aim. The Ill-Matched Couple was painted in 1876/77 in Unterschondorf am Ammersee, where the artist lived from 1875 to 1877 after meeting Gustave Courbet in Paris. In a tightly cropped detail, the work depicts the fisherman, Lenz, and the innkeeper’s daughter, Therese. Leibl focuses entirely on the physiognomic and gestural contrast between the old man and the young woman. The motif of the “ill-matched couple” is a traditional one in German Renaissance painting, to which Leibl deliberately quotes.