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The Conscript’s Farewell, 1854

Leopold Museum,
Oil on wood
59×74 cm


  • Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

    (Vienna 1793–1865 Hinterbrühl near Mödling)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
A heart-rendering scene is taking place in a farmhouse parlor: A young man, having been called up for military service, is surrounded by his family bidding him farewell. In his 1854 painting The Conscript’s Farewell, the Biedermeier painter Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793–1865) conveyed the emotionally charged atmosphere of the moment. Though the parents are trying to reassure the boy – the father clasping the son’s hand and shoulder, the mother blessing him –, the siblings hold out their arms imploringly, while crying figures, populating the scene all the way to the back of the room, simply cannot watch. Waldmüller skillfully heightened the tense atmosphere through the lack of emotion of the figures in the foreground: to the left, a young brother’s striding movement announces his departure from the scene, in the center a cat is licking milk from the floor and to the right, the youngest sibling watches the goings-on without understanding them. The conscript, too, does not seem to grasp what is happening to him.

Object data

  • Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
The Conscript’s Farewell
Art movement
Oil on wood
59×74 cm
Signed and dated lower right: Waldmüller 1854.
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 634
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Rupert Feuchtmüller: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller 1793-1865. Leben – Schriften – Werke, Wien 1996.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Feuchtmüller 1996: 879

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Max Hevesi , Wien / London (vor 1937); (1)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (vor 1990-1994); (2)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (1994).

  1. Rupert Feuchtmüller, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller 1793-1865, Leben-Schriften-Werke, Wien 1996, S. 505, Nr. 879; Belvedere Wien, Archiv der Neuen Galerie, Ausstellung Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller – Salzburg 1937, AZ 617/9, Max Hevesi an Dr. Otto Nirenstein vom 17.04.1937
  2. Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Wien 1990, S. 245, Nr. 93 (Abb. S. 193)

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