Theodor Baierl

St. John the Baptist,

c. 1920,

oil on panel


Theodor Baierl (German, 1881-1932), active in Munich

St John the Baptist

circa 1920’s

signed lower right 'Theodor Baierl'

oil on panel with cradle stretcher in original Aedicula gilt frame with Renaissance style decoration, and label verso

80 x 39cm 

Conserved by Andrea Rothe (formerly, Getty Museum) and Jeanne McKee-Rothe (formerly, Norton Simon Museum).


The Reverend Francis Swithinbank, Vicar of Clare, Suffolk [he was vicar from 1931 to 1962], who obtained the painting from a fellow clergyman during a visit to Munich [in the late 1930’s or 1940’s], and subsequent descent within the family after his death in 1962. For more than 60 years, in the Swithinbank family.

2008      Cheffins, Cambridge, UK


1930      'Muenchener Kunstausstellung im Glaspalast,' Munich Art Exhibition, Crystal Palace, Munich (old exhibition label on the reverse)

1937     Teodoro Baierl, retrospective exhibition at the Palacio das Janelas Verdes (the National Museum of Art), Lisbon.  Reverend Francis seems to have acquired the painting sometime after the 1937 exhibition.


1937     José de Figueiredo, Catálogo da Exposição de Pintura e Desenho de Teodoro Baierl (Lisbon: Palacio das Janelas Verdes, 1937), cat. no. 16.

The little-known, eccentric Munich painter Theodor Baierl (1881-1932) had an anachronistic painting style that revealed the influence of the Quattrocento, Italian art of the 15th century. But his singular paintings are often assigned to the Symbolist movement.

Baierl depicts John as a somewhat androgynous , adolescent young man in the wilderness, wearing only an animal-skin loincloth and tenderly cradling a lamb (his iconographic attribute), with a long thin staff-cross resting in the crook of his right arm. But perhaps the most remarkable feature of this unique icon is John’s wild, rock-star hair! 

Baierl himself designed a custom frame for his “Young John the Baptist.”  And the painting was exhibited at the Crystal Palace art exhibition in Munich in 1930 (Muenchener Kunstausstellung im Glaspalast); and again, after Baierl’s death, in a monographic retrospective exhibition at the National Museum in Lisbon in 1937.

In the Daulton Collection, there are six paintings by Baierl, including another, smaller, less-finished version of “Young John the Baptist,” perhaps a study.

     -- Jack Daulton, 2019

view with artist-made frame:


Jack Daulton
The Jack Daulton Collection
Los Altos Hills, California