Leontine (Leo) von Littrow: A gifted woman and her seascapes
When it comes to art, it is talent — not gender — that matters. However, the fact that Leontine von Littrow was a woman is worth mentioning. This gifted Austrian painter lived at a time when the world of art was dominated by men, often to the prejudice of women. In fact, early in her career, Littrow began signing her works “Leo von Littrow” just so they would be included in art exhibitions.
Although Littrow enjoyed fame during her lifetime, not many people today are probably familiar with this artist. There is not a great deal of information about her online. Photos of her are hard to come by (I have found only one, a group photo published on a Hungarian website). Interestingly, Wikipedia and some art websites seem to have got the years of her birth and/or death wrong.
Fortunately, a detailed (and authoritave) biography of Leontine Camilla von Littrow (also known as Leo or Lea von Littrow) can be found on the website of Littrow Archive Vienna (https://littrow.at/leontine-von-littrow/). The site is in German but an online translation will yield some important facts about the artist.
Amongst them: that she was born on 17th March 1856 in Trieste, Italy, but lived in Croatia, where her father served as a port captain in Fiume (Rijeka); that she took private art lessons from Hans Canon and later from Jean d’Alheim (women at the time were denied access to artistic training at academies); that her works were exhibited in Vienna, Munich and London; and that she died on 11th May 1925 in her beloved Abbazia (Opatija), Croatia.
The following are just six of Littrow’s numerous marine paintings. Each one should leave little doubt that, in the galaxy of marine artists, this talented woman was a brilliant star that continues to shine today.