The Golden Wedding
Carl Hoff was well known in Germany in the late nineteenth century, as a painter of genre and narrative subjects. He studied at Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf before travelling to France in 1862. In Paris he was strongly influenced by Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891), one of the most popular narrative painters of the century. Like Meissonier, Hoff specialized in historical pieces based on sixteenth-and seventeenth-century subjects. The Frenchman's influence can clearly be seen in a work such as The Golden Wedding, 1883, with its period setting and close attention ot the details of costumes and surfaces.
The Golden Wedding was the centrepiece of the collection of Mr and Mrs Robert Hill Kinnear and hung on the wall of the drawing room in their home, Brookong House, in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak. The Kinnears had strong family ties with Germany and commissioned a number of paintings, including The Golden Wedding, directly from German artists. The narrative in Hoff's painting is set in the seventeenth century and, as the title suggests, the scene represented is the golden anniversary of a prosperous couple. Numerous contemporary accounts of the work tell us that the artist included a portrait of Robert Hill Kinnear and his wife among the guests.