Barbara Regina Dietzsch

A Branch of Gooseberries with a Dragonfly, an Orange-Tip Butterfly, and a Caterpillar

  • Barbara Regina Dietzsch (German, 1706–83)
  • Gouache over graphite on prepared paper; overall: 28.7 x 20.4 cm (11 5/16 x 8 1/16 in.)
  • 17251783
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington DC


Learn more about Dietzsch’s drawing A Branch of Gooseberries with a Dragonfly, an Orange-Tip Butterfly, and a Caterpillar: The National Gallery of Art

The Artist

Like many European women artists, Barbara Regina Dietzsch learned her trade from her father. Johann Israel Dietzsch (1681–1754) was a landscape painter and engraver active in Nuremberg, where Barbara was born. He involved not only Barbara but also her six siblings, including her sister Margaretha Barbara Dietzsch, in the family workshop.

Barbara spent her life in Germany, living for a time in Hamburg with her husband, painter Nikolaus Christopher Matthes. But her fame was such that her works sold in Germany, England, Holland, and France. Christoph Jakob Trew (1695–1769), a physician and major figure in the botanical community of Nuremberg, referred to Dietzsch in the preface to his publication Plantae Selectae (1750) as “our countrywoman, Miss Barbara Regina Dietzsch, now quite famous everywhere.” 

Dietzsch specialized in watercolor and gouache paintings of animals and plants. She painted flowers mainly, but also birds and shells. In portraying naturalist subjects, Dietzsch and her sister Margaretha Barbara followed in the footsteps of earlier female artists from their city, including at least the celebrated naturalist and illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), and engraver and flower painter Amalia Pachelbel Beer (1688–1724), daughter of the famous composer Johann Pachelbel.

Though hers is not exactly a household name today, many art museums hold works by or attributed to Barbara Regina Dietzsch. These include The J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, the Rijksmuseum, Hamburg’s Kunsthalle, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Oak Spring Garden Foundation, Harvard Art Museums, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley Library, Staatliche Museum zu Berlin, Germanisches National Museum in Nuremberg, Frankfurt’s Städel Museum, the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, and Alte Pinakothek, München.


Current and past exhibitions featuring Barbara Regina Dietzsch:

Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400–1800 at the Art Gallery of Ontario from March 30–July 1, 2024. The show was on previously (October 1, 2023–January 7, 2024) at the Baltimore Museum of Art

In Fall of 2019, Victoria Munroe Fine Art presented Contemporary Reflections on Barbara Regina Dietzsch. The installation placed Dietzsch’s singular portraits of flowers side by side among the individual styles and techniques of the five contemporary painters and one photographer. 

Learn more online about Barbara Regina Dietzsch at:

The Art Herstory blog:

Barbara Regina Dietzsch: Enlightened Flower Painter, Dr. Andaleeb Badiee Banta

A Space of Their Own: Explore >

Daily Art Magazine article: Explore >

Legion of Honor Museum blog: Explore >

Occasional Papers from the RHS Lindley Library: Explore >



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