Oranges and roses

Oranges and roses
Oranges and roses

Augusta Plagemann was an artist and a teacher in the nineteenth century.

Augusta Plagemann was born in 1799 and grew up in a bourgeois family in Stockholm. Her father, Johan Joachim Fredrik Plagemann, was headmaster at the German school and had a son, Carl Johan Fredrik “Fritz” Plagemann, from his first marriage to Margareta Dorothea Lange. This son later became a well-known Swedish pharmacist. Augusta and her sister Sofia were born during Johan Plagemann’s second marriage to Anna Christina Rumstedt.

There is little information on Augusta Plagemann’s education and training. One theory is that she met the Danish painter Johan Laurentz Jensen when he was exhibiting his work at Konstakademien (the Royal Academy of Fine Arts) in 1834 and that she subsequently learned to paint under his tutelage. There is, however, no information to confirm or indicate when and where this took place. Augusta Plagemann’s painting style bears great similarities to Jensen’s, but this does not automatically imply that she studied with him. She was perhaps simply inspired by his work.

For a time Augusta Plagemann ran a girls’ school in Stockholm, in order to generate income. Again, it is uncertain exactly when this was, but a letter has survived from one of her nieces dated 1841 containing a reference to the fact that the school was not maintaining high standards. In 1847 Augusta Plagemann moved to Karlskrona in order to help her sister who also ran a girls’ school.

Augusta Plagemann began painting concurrently with running her school and teaching. She displayed some 16 pieces of her work at Konstakademin’s exhibition in 1843, including still-lives portraying hunting themes, flowers, or fruit. She also displayed her work in later exhibitions held by the academy, in 1850, 1853 and 1856. She participated in the first exhibition held by the Konstföreningen för Södra Sverige (Southern Sweden’s art association) in Växjö in 1854 with her work entitled Dufvor, Sjöfåglar och ett Blomsterstycke. In 1844 Augusta Plagemann travelled to Berlin in order to visit the grave of the German Protestant theologian and philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher. She had been deeply moved by his writings, including Der christliche Glaube from 1822. She also corresponded with the Swedish priest and philosopher Nils Ignell, a disciple of Friedrich Schleiermacher.

Augusta Plagemann’s art was generally well-received and praised, including by the likes of Fredrika Bremer whose review of the academy’s 1843 exhibition was published in Aftonbladet. In it Bremer wrote: “[…] we thank her for the real pleasure derived from her mastery of this fine branch of art. She paints con amore, which is evident not only in the volume of her work but also in the perfection of almost all paintings, in the composition’s poetic charm and in the true-to-life depiction of the subjects.”

Augusta Plagemann died in Karlskrona in 1888.

Anna Catharina Augusta Plagemann,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon. Article by Ulla Karin Warberg. Translated by Alexia Grosjean. Retrieved 2021-06-21. CC-BY.

Oranges and roses.

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