Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel ( * 1815 † 1905 )

Biography of Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel

Honored, ennobled artist

Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel was born on December 8, 1815 in Breslau, Prussia (now Wrocław, Poland) .

The family moved to Berlin and in 1830 Adolph Friedrich received an apprenticeship in lithography in his father's print shop. After his death, Adolph Menzel took over the family workshop for lithographs. He also made illustrations and pen drawings as templates for the woodcuts. His first major commission was eleven illustrations for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's poem "Künstler Erdenwallen" in 1833.

Menzel also briefly visited the Berlin Academy of the Arts but decided to acquire the skills and knowledge independently. < / p>

He became known for his realistic historical works. He illustrated the history of Prussia and especially scenes from the life of Frederick II and later Wilhelm I. The most famous paintings of this period include: "Frederick the Great's Flute Concert in Sanssouci" (1852) and "Das Ballsouper" (1878). He got his designation as an artist of Prussian history painting after the order to illustrate for the book "History of Frederick the Great" from Franz Kugler. Menzel later painted industrial objects, landscapes, streets and other subjects: "Rolling Mill" (1875).

The influence of Impressionism was also noticeable in Menzel's works: "The balcony room" (1845) and the “Waldesnacht” (1851) are good examples of this. This reversal to Impressionism was influenced by his trip to Paris.

With his painting technique and his own style, Menzel was ahead of his time. The free painterly expression and open brushstrokes only found broad public acceptance later.

In 1870 Menzel received the order Pour le Mérite (peace class). This state award brings with it a high level of social recognition. In 1853 he was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and in 1856 appointed professor of this institution. In 1872 he became an honorary member of the Academy of Arts in Munich. His pictures were exhibited worldwide, but mainly in Europe: in Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Hamburg, Paris, Venice, Vienna. His fame grew along with the numerous honors and in 1898 the High Order of the Black Eagle made Menzel a knight. Menzel finally made his hometown Berlin an honorary citizen.

On February 9, 1905, Menzel died in Berlin at the age of 89. The artist received a state funeral, by order of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The imperial family was present at the funeral.


Art prints and oil reproductions by Adolph Friedrich Erdmann von Menzel

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