Swiss Genre Painter Albert Anker (1831-1910)
The exceptionally popular Swiss painter and illustrator Albert Samuel Anker has been called the "national painter" of Switzerland for depicting the village life of the 19th century with photographic precision.
The son of a veterinarian, Anker attended school in Neuchâtel, the Gymnasium Kirchenfeld in Bern, later studied theology in Bern and at the university of Halle, Germany. Inspired by the German art collections, he pursued an artistic career. After moving to Paris, Anker enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1855-60. In Switzerland he set up a studio in his parents' house, exhibiting regularly in his homeland and in Paris. In 1866, Anker was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Salon, and in 1878 he was made a knight of the Légion d'honneur.
Albert Anker's artwork made him Switzerland's most popular genre painter of the 19th century, and his paintings have continued to enjoy a great popularity due to their general accessibility. Anker married Anna Rüfli in 1864, and they had six children together; the four children who did not die at an early age – Louise, Marie, Maurice and Cécile – appear in some of Anker's paintings.
Many Swiss postage stamps and other media have incorporated Anker's work.