Johanna Hildebrandt Series: Naive Art and Beyond

In yesterday's post Andrew and I discussed a little about Naive Art and introduced you to the early paintings created by Australian artist Johanna Hildebrandt. Today we are going to continue to look at Johanna's paintings in more detail and learn more about her artistic style which has its roots in the Naive Art school as seen below.
Untitled 1992 by Johanna Hildebrandt (Painting Collection of Andrew from the Hunter Valley, NSW)

Johanna Hildebrandt arrived in Australia over 40 years ago from Bavaria and her European heritage is very evident in her early paintings as seen above.

Johanna began painting in Sydney in 1980 and has had several successful solo shows at Naïve Galleries in Melbourne and Sydney.

Her work was also included in a major naïve exhibition from Australia shown at Musee d’Art Naif in Paris, and Queensland House in London.

True naïve paintings like Hildebrandt’s are an idealised portrayal of an orderly world, often having a fairytale atmosphere...1

And we can see this delightful, idyllic view of the world shown in the enchanting Wedding theme below. Evident also is Johanna's love of the natural world living in harmony with humans as the love doves bless the couple under the archway made from the imaginary plant with its decorative patterned detail contrasting against the pattern of clouds. Note also the community to which the couple belong making up the background details and harmonious theme of ordered life.

The Wedding 1985, 29x39cm by Johanna Hildebrandt (Painting Collection of Andrew from the Hunter Valley, NSW)

With Johanna's European background still dominant (although living in Australia), below she has portrayed the daily life of folk in true Naive style in the painting of Winter. Note again the detail pattern in the trees which is a sign of a painting style to come.

Winter 1986, 15x20cm by Johanna Hildebrandt (Painting Collection of Andrew from the Hunter Valley, NSW)

Naive artists like to paint the changing seasons as part of their love of the natural rhythm of nature. Summer below also portrays a characteristic idyllic scene and if you look carefully again you will see the many different groups of patterns - in the trees, the fungi and acorns on the ground, the grass: and even the clouds form a pattern.

Summer 1986, by Johanna Hildebrandt 15 x 22 cm (Painting Collection of Andrew from the Hunter Valley, NSW)

All these early Naive Style paintings by Johanna were created in the traditional style on glass. Andrew owns six of the paintings in this style which although painted in Australia in the 1980s are very representative, in terms of clothing and other objects in the landscape, of a late 1800s European style.

If we study The Boy and his Parrots (below), the elements from the Naive Art style are again very evident: bold colours, attention to detail, and as previously mentioned an orderly world. We also see the whimsical tone which appears in many naive art paintings and is very much a feature of Johanna's works across all the years she has been painting.

The Boy and the Parrots 1983, 17x12cm by Johanna Hildebrandt (Painting Collection of Andrew from the Hunter Valley, NSW)

But Andrew points out that this painting created in 1983 contains an element which heralds a changing style in Johanna's view of the world.2

Although some similarities to a European style remain such as the child who appears plucked out of Bavaria, the presence of the colourful parrots which could possibly be Rainbow Lorikeets. The landscape is changing also to look more like an Australian landscape in terms of the colours Johanna has used and the shape of the mountains in the distance.

The Rainbow Lorikeets appear in Dolphins At Play which illustrates Johanna's changing style after she progressed from her wonderful Baverian influenced small naive glass paintings to her more colourful acrylic paintings of the late 80s into the 90s and beyond. Note also how her skill in depicting the detail of the lorikeets has matured and foliage is becoming far more detailed and colourful.

Dolphins at Play 1994, 48x58cm by Johanna Hildebrandt (Painting Collection of Andrew from the Hunter Valley, NSW)

In tomorrow's post we will continue to follow Johanna's artistic journey and see her breadth of talent across other art mediums and see how her painting style has gradually changed whilst maintaining the Naive artist's love of a balanced and detailed natural world full of brilliant colours.

© Thank you to Johanna Hildebrandt who kindly gave permission for the images of her works to be shared on AnArt4Life and for providing assistance in the preparation of the posts on her works which are created using acrylic paints on canvas. She has had more than 20 Solo Exhibitions in Australia, Japan and Germany and has taken part in many important group shows internationally.

And a special thank you to the Collector Andrew from the Hunter Valley Region of New South Wales for sharing his Johanna Hildebrandt collection.

Andrew would also like to give a plug to Clare Farrelly who does such a wonderful and professional job of photographing these paintings so that they can be presented in such a way which is fitting to be showcased on the AnArt4Life blog.

2. Correspondence with Andrew from the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales