Marianne Preindlsberger was born in the Austrian capital of Styria, Graz, in 1855. She became famous for producing Victorian paintings while living in England and is considered the leading female artist of her time. She began using the name Stokes after marrying in 1884 to landscape painter Adrian Scott Stokes.
Preindlsberger began her artistic education after receiving a scholarship to study under Wilhelm Lindenschmit, the Younger, in Munich. She later went to France, where she worked under the Academic painter Gustave Courtois and the leading Naturalist, Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret. Throughout her career, Preindlsberger was deeply influenced by Naturalism, especially the work of its precursor, Jules Bastien-Lepage.
The Austrian artist enjoyed painting the Parisian countryside along with many of her contemporaries. Her production began with a rustic style and soon diverged to medieval subjects and themes. Although she went through changes in her art, Bastien-Lepage’s influence is still noticeable. While in Paris, Preindlsberger befriended fellow artist Helena Sofia Schjerfbeck, originally from Russia.
The two friends traveled together to Pont Aven in 1883, where Preindlsberger met Charles Adrian Scott Stokes. Adrian was an English landscape painter, and they married in 1884. She decided to take his name a year after. During the next couple of years, the newlywed couple spent their summers at an artists’ colony in Denmark named the Skagen Painters. During this time, they were close to Anna Ancher, and her husband, Michael Peter, both Danish painters associated with the Skagen colony.
In 1885, Preindlsberger had her painting entitled Reflection accepted to the Royal Academy. Her work was mostly well-received by the audience and critics. During this year, she made a trip to Ireland. She exhibited at the Society of British Artists, the New Gallery, London’s Grosvenor Gallery, and became a member of the Royal Watercolour Society. Preindlsberger and her husband joined another artist colony in 1886, this time at Carbis Bay, in Cornwall, Britain.
Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, in the Palace of Fine Arts, exhibited Preindlsberger’s work at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The Stokes couple partook in many activities together, like collaborating on a joint art show in 1900 at the Fine Art Society. They also traveled extensively, visiting Slovakia and Tyrol in the Alps around 1905.
They eventually settled in the seaside town of Saint Ives in Cornwall, where Preindlsberger became a member of the group known as the Newlyn School. They continued traveling to Slovakia, Hungary, and other locations. During these trips, the painters portrayed the scenery in their work, especially in the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. Preindlsberger would often concentrate on creating portrait paintings with elaborate and detailed clothing, while her husband focused more on the landscapes.
Preindlsberger’s work represents the Slovak culture in rich detail and beautiful colors and is considered a historical reference for the preservation of the countries culture. She initially worked more with oil on canvas but migrated to painting with egg tempera and gesso, similar to the Classic technique called frescoes. The artist’s change in technique was partially inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites.
Marianne Preindlsberger Stokes passed away in August 1927 in London. Adrian Stokes died about eight years later.