The style of the Dusseldorf School of Painting is distinguished by its finely detailed, extravagant and imaginative landscapes that usually have some sort of religious or symbolic stories represented through these landscapes. Leading artists and members of the style supported pure air painting, which means that artists painted outdoors to obtain and recreate more accurate visual conditions in their work. These leading artists have also dedicated themselves to using a palette with more uniform and relatively contained colors.
- History and development –
The Dusseldorf School of Painting is an art movement from the first half of the century that took place in Germany at the Dusseldorf Academy, which is now called Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, located in the city of Dusseldorf. The main period of the Dusseldorf School of Painting refers to the painters who taught or studied at the Dusseldorf Academy from 1826 to 1859 when the German painter Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow (1789-1862) was the director of the school.
The Dusseldorf school was part of the German Romantic movement, which lasted from the late 1700s until the mid-1800s, although it had grown and become its movement on the latter side. The Dusseldorf School of Painting began after 1819 when von Schadow was appointed professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin and began to develop paintings for churches, as well as obtaining disciples thanks to his training and skill methods. After becoming director of the Dusseldorf Academy, the academy focused on Christian art and in 1837 he had his best students adorned with the chapel of St. Apollinaris in Remagen with frescoes, which led von Schadow to praise them as spiritual masters of the painting school of Dusseldorf.
- Notable artists and their works –
This section will touch only some of the most important artists of the Dusseldorf School of painting and their noteworthy works, starting with Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910). Achenbach was a German landscape painter who had been at the Dusseldorf Academy from almost the beginning of Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow’s tenure as director, starting his training there in 1827. He then traveled to St. Petersburg, Italy, the Netherlands and in Scandinavia to study before returning to Munich in 1835, where he eventually found a new school of painting. He was considered the father of German landscape painting in the 1800s. Many of his works are in galleries throughout Germany and also in the United States. Some of his most important paintings include 1831 ‘The old Academie of Düsseldorf’ and his painting 1847 ‘Clearing Up-Coast of Sicily’. ‘
Emanuel Leutze (1816-68) was a German-American painter of historical events. Leutze first learned art by taking lessons offered by John Rubens Smith (1775-1849) in Philadelphia in 1834 and by 1840 his work had gained enough attention to be able to go to Europe and study at the Dusseldorf Academy . After studying at the Academy for two years, he went to study, study and paint in Munich, Venice and Rome for three years before returning to Dusseldorf, where he lived until 1859. During this time he was president of the Association of Dusseldorf artists, he helped fellow American artists in the city and also helped found the first association of national professions for visual arts in the country. He then returned to America where he spent the rest of his life in New York or Washington DC and was a member of the National Academy of Design. His 1842 painting “Columbus in Chains” earned him the gold medal at the Brussels Art Exhibition. His most famous works, which cover American history, are his iconic painting 1851 called “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and his 1860 “Westward the Course of Empire Take It Way” which was commissioned to decorate the stairs of the Capitol Building.
- Reject and subsequent successive movements –
After the removal of Friedrich Wilhelm von Schadow and the division in the painting school of Dusseldorf, there was a slow decline in the second half of the 1800s. At that time there were many competing styles of art throughout Europe and Germany. New art schools, like the realistic German school founded by the aforementioned Andreas Achenbach, were born with a different focus for them. German realism, for example, focused on capturing everyday life, in a realistic style. In the end, the great change in art would have altered the art world and led to the end of the Dusseldorf School of Painting. At the beginning of the era of modern art in the 1860s, the artistic movements of Cubism, Dadaism and Surrealism became more important.
- Legacy –
The Dusseldorf School had a great influence on the artistic movement of the American school Hudson River, which was founded by the American artist Thomas Cole (1801-48) in 1825 and lasted until the tail of the 1800s. This is due to the fact that the Academy of Dusseldorf became internationally famous and had many foreign students, especially Americans, Russians and people from the Scandinavian countries, who came to school to study the genre and learn landscape painting. Many of the second-generation Americans at the Hudson River School, such as Richard Caton, Worthington Whittredge, George Caleb Bingham and David Edward Cronin have studied and been influenced at the Academy and the Dusseldorf School of Painting.