Albrecht Samuel Anker, mostly known as Albert Anker, was born in Ins, Switzerland, in 1831. He is known for her realistic portrayals of his country's simple rural life and is considered Switzerland's national painter by many. Anker produced many still-life and portraits of everyday life, without idealizing or implying any critical aspect in his art.
The Swiss artist began his early lessons in drawing in 1845 under Louis Wallinger in Neuchatel, where he continued for about three years. During this period, he began addressing himself as Albert to become easier for his French colleagues. Auguste Bachelin was his classmate at the time and also became an artist.
In 1849, Anker moved to the Swiss capital, Bern, to study at the Gymnasium Kirchenfeld and graduated in 1851. His Academic journey continued as he went on the study theology, eventually enrolling at the University of Halle. He concluded many paintings with biblical themes, as well as historical, in times paintings theologians like John Calvin and Martin Luther.
It was only in 1854 that the young artist was able to have his father, Samuel Anker, on board with his decision to build a career as an artist. A year later, Anker's decision, he moved to Paris with his family to study among the best artists of the time. He began attending the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure de Beaux-Arts in 1855, under Charles Gleyre. The painter improvised a home studio in his parent's attic, where he was able to create his paintings. Anker's work was already well-received, and he exhibited regularly in Paris and Switzerland.
Albert Anker and Anna Rufli married in 1864. The couple had six kids, two of which tragically died at an early age. The artist included some of his children in works like The Artist's Daughter Louise, Marie Anker with Doll, and Marie Anker. This period represented the height of Anker's career, as he created some of his most significant works. The painter won a gold medal in the 1866 Paris Salon. In 1878, he was knighted by the Légion D'honneur.
In 1870, Albert joined the Grand Council of Bern, where he continued for the next four years, fulfilling an essential role in the Museum of Fine Arts, also known as Kunstmuseum Bern. The artist traveled extensively throughout Europe, visiting Paris during the winter, as well as Italy occasionally. He became a member of the Swiss Federal Art Commission, on and off, at the end of the 1880s.
The University of Bern granted Anker with an honorary doctorate in 1900. Unfortunately, the painter suffered from a stroke a year later, which debilitated his movements, and consequently, his ability to paint was affected. Albert Anker died at the age of 79, in his hometown in July 1910.
Anker became the most popular Swiss genre painter of his time. Shortly after his death, the Musée D'art et D'histoire in Neuchatel organized an exhibit in his honor.