It is with great pleasure that we bring this cheerful watercolor by Georg Sturm to your attention. Probably a fragment of a more extensive design, perhaps for an opera decor; since we can safely assume we are dealing with two of Alberich's forging dwarves, the Nibelungen, from Richard Wagner’s Ring. As a decorator of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam - his wall decorations there have recently been restored - it is not difficult to suppose that Sturm was attracted to Wagner.
George Sturm was born in Vienna in 1855. He was instructed at the renowned Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule, where Klimt was also trained. Two of his teachers were his father Friedrich Sturm and Ferdinand Laufberger, the most prominent decorative painter in Vienna at the time. Like Klimt, Sturm would assist Laufberger in the execution of decorative painting. Sturm was asked as a decorative designer for the Rijksmuseum by Pierre Cuypers at about 1881. From 1882 he was a lecturer at the Rijksschool voor Kunstnijverheid. Prof. dr. Huib Luns would later describe Sturm as the most competent teacher in decorative painting in the Netherlands.
The many decorative paintings and tile tableaux for the Rijksmuseum are the opus magnum of Sturm. During the reopening of the building several years ago, much attention was paid to his work for Cuypers both in the Netherlands and internationally. The characterization of this cultural temple as a 'Gesammtkunstwerk' is also his merit. Other well-known buildings that were decorated by Sturm are the Amsterdam Central Station, the Cuypers house, the former State Rooms of the provinces of Drenthe and Overijssel and the hall of the Academybuilding of Utrecht. Sturm also produced various festivity decorations including the decoration of the Noordeinde Palace for the inauguration of Queen Wilhelmina. Many of his designs were published in 'Dekorative Vorbilder', an important international periodical in the field of decorative painting. Both Queen Wilhelmina and Emperor Franz Joseph would purchase Sturm's work at exhibitions.
Sturm's artworks rarely reach the market. Ars Decora is therefore proud to be able to offer a design of his hand, namely the forging dwarfs from the famous opera "Der Ring des Nibelungen" by Richard Wagner. Extensive research has not yet yielded an explanation about the history of development. Possibly the design was intended as an element of a decor. In a recent commentary, Sturm's paintings in the Rijksmuseum were said to appear to have been designed for Wagner's opera. That is a convincing remark. This small and cheerful watercolor in pure Art Nouveau (or Liberty) is in an excellent condition and has no discoloration or damage. The passepartout has recently been renewed.