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Düsseldorf School

Artists' association

1819 in Düsseldorf
1918 in Düsseldorf


The Düsseldorf School of Painting is the name given to a group of artists linked both with the Königlich-Preußische Kunstakademie, or Royal Prussian Academy of Art, founded in 1819 in Düsseldorf, and also with its director Wilhelm von Schadow, who was in office from 1826. Their influence, especially in the period between 1830 and 1870, but also in later decades of the nineteenth century, can hardly be overestimated. Students from all over the world studied in Düsseldorf; the techniques, teaching methods and subjects were appreciated and copied internationally. The painting school also attracted attention with its publications and exhibitions, as well as through the distribution of its works on the international art market, including the United States. The travels and wide-ranging connections with friends and families of the often quite prosperous protagonists contributed to the charisma of the school. Important members of the group included Theodor Hildebrandt, Carl Ferdinand Sohn, Julius Hübner, Carl Friedrich Lessing and Eduard Bendemann. The painters around Wilhelm von Schadow preferred poetic subjects full of emotion as well as true-to-life historical paintings, which were often based on religious or mythological subjects. In the middle of the 1830s various conflicts developed: some artists tended towards a late-Romantic style while others were oriented more towards Realism. During the course of the political unrest associated with the revolution of March 1848, democratic convictions gained importance. The artistic consequence was an increasingly close depiction of reality, including in landscape painting. Some artists focused on genre painting, in which they could also express everyday socio-critical topics. During the revolutionary year 1848 a circle of students and professors from the Düsseldorf School of Painting formed the independent painting school Der Malkasten (The Paintbox). Among its members were Emanuel Leute, Carl Wilhelm Hübner and Andreas Achenbach.

Persons connected to Düsseldorf School

Persons belonging to Düsseldorf School