Adolf Hölzel

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Self-portrait, circa 1885
A painting by Adolf Hölzel.

Adolf Hölzel (13 May 1853 – 17 October 1934) was a German artist/painter. His style developed from Impressionism to expressive modernism.


He was born in Olomouc in Moravia, the son of the publisher Eduard Hölzel. In 1871 his family moved to Vienna, and from 1872 he studied painting at the Vienna Academy. He continued his studies in Munich at the Kunstakademie beginning in 1876. There he became acquainted with the painter Fritz von Uhde and painted in a style influenced by Impressionism.

From 1888 to 1905 he worked in Dachau, where there was an artists' colony. Already during his time in Dachau his work began moving toward abstraction, reflecting his interest in such principles as the golden section and Goethe's Theory of Colors. He taught at the Stuttgart Academy, and painted—four years before Wassily Kandinsky—an abstract painting (Composition in Red, 1905). Among his students the so-called "Hölzel circle" developed, including Oskar Schlemmer, Willi Baumeister, Max Ackermann, Alf Bayrle and Johannes Itten. In 1919 Adolf Hölzel left the Stuttgart Academy and went into retirement. He died in Stuttgart in 1934.


  • Adolf Hölzel. Galerie der Stadt Sindelfingen. Exhib. 21 March - 3 May 1987.
  • Wolfgang Venzmer: Adolf Hölzel. Leben und Werk. Stuttgart 1982.