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Painting and Graphic Art

Portrait of Peter Burckhardt Forcart and family

Key data

dated 1775

J.J. Kaufmann, Basle

Oil on canvas, 76 x 108.7 cm

Inv. 1991.174.


Few images from the CIS record a Basle family in its domestic setting as vividly as this portrait of Peter and Anna Burckhardt-Forcart with their five children. The interior shows curtains and furniture, household utensils and crockery typical of the Louis XVI period. The spinet on the right even exactly matches a Basle instrument of 1775 in the Museum. The silk ribbon manufacturer Peter Burckhardt, later mayor and Swiss 'Landamman', was a member of wealthy Basle society. In a travel guide of 1782 he is mentioned among the 50 most prominent citizens of Basle. Although the painter has faithfully reproduced people and objects, the place cannot be determined with certainty. Some features suggest that the scene of the family idyll is not the family's town residence but their country seat at Maienfels in Pratteln.

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