German genre- and portrait-painter; born of Orthodox parents at Hanau in 1801; died at Frankfort-on-the-Main Feb. 26, 1882. He received his first lessons in painting from Westermayer, in Hanau, and entered the Munich Academy of Arts when only seventeen years of age. Later he visited Paris, where Regnault became his teacher, and then went to Rome, where he was cordially received into the circle of artists presided over by Thorwaldsen, Niebuhr, and Overbeck. There he studied the life of the ghetto and made sketches of the various phases of its domestic and religious life, in preparation for several large canvases which he painted on his return to Germany. In 1825 he settled at Frankfort, and shortly after exhibited his painting "David Playing Before Saul," to see which a great number of admirers from all parts of Europe visited his studio. In 1832, at the instance of Goethe, Grand Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar conferred upon him the honorary title of professor.

Oppenheim's pictures of Jewish life and his portraits of Emperor Joseph II., Moses Mendelssohn, and Börne established his reputation as one of the foremost Jewish artists of the nineteenth century. His "Home Coming of a Jewish Soldier" is considered by most art critics to be his masterpiece. "Mignon and the Harper," "Italian Genre Scene," "Confirmation," and "Sabbath Blessing" are also admirable and characteristic examples of his power of conception and skill at grouping.

  • Singer, Allg. Künstler-Lexicon;
  • Ad. Kohut, Berühmte Israelitische Männer und Frauen, pp. 282 et seq.
S. F. C.
Images of pages