This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)
Allers, the son of a merchant, was born in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. He first worked as a lithographer, and in 1877 he moved to Karlsruhe where he continued to work as a lithographer. In the Kunstakademie (state academy of fine arts) he was a scholar of Prof. Ferdinand Keller.
Allers became well known when he published his collection of prints "Club Eintracht" in 1888. Several other books and maps (collections of prints) followed, by way of example Bismarck, so at the beginning of the 1890s he was able to build a villa on Capri. He lived there for many years, also spending some time in Hamburg, Karlsruhe, and travelling around the world.
In autumn 1902, there was a scandal. Friedrich Alfred Krupp, another famous person living in Capri, was accused by some Italian newspapers of homosexuality and pederasty. Some weeks later, Allers was accused, by court. Krupp died some weeks later, presumably a suicide. Allers managed to escape before the lawsuit began, which led to a sentence of 4½ years imprisonment, pronounced in absentia. According to Tito Fiorani, "Allers had distinctly homosexual tendencies, and liked to surround himself with boys, whom he often used as models".
Allers left Capri and began travelling around the world for more than 10 years, staying some time in New Zealand, Samoa, and Australia. During this time, he often used the pseudonym "W. Andresen", and earned money by making portraits of wealthy people. He died in 1915 in Karlsruhe some months after returning to Germany.
Allers was a naturalist. His drawings are rich in detail and are of realistic style, so they often lack emotions. Although the drawings look realistic, Allers sometimes added persons to scenes who were never at that location. In this respect, he was not a realist. Technically, Allers often used pencil. To start with, his colored drawings were usually in pencil and were colored later (pastel, oil, ...). His subjects were:
- Everyday life scenes (e.g. Club Eintracht, Spreeathener, Hochzeitsreise)
- Travel reports (e.g. La Bella Napoli, Rund um die Welt, Unter deutscher Flagge)
Books and collections of prints
- 1885 Aus Kamerun. Ein Bilderbuch für kleine und große Kinder.
- 1887 Hinter den Coulissen des Circus Renz
- 1887 Hamburger Bilder
- 1887 The Mikado
- 1888 Club Eintracht - Eine Sommerfahrt
- 1889 Eine Hochzeitsreise durch die Schweiz
- 1889 Spreeathener. Berliner Bilder
- 1890 Die Meininger
- 1890 Die silberne Hochzeit
- 1891 Unsere Marine
- 1891 Backschisch
- 1892 Capri
- 1892 Fürst Bismarck in Friedrichsruh
- 1893 La bella Napoli
- 1895 Unser Bismarck
- 1896 Hochzeitsreise nach Italien
- 1898 Das deutsche Jägerbuch
- 1898 Rund um die Erde
- 1898 Unser Bismarck. Gedächtnis-Ausgabe
- 1900 Unter deutscher Flagge
- 1902 Das deutsche Corpsleben
Some drawings and paintings
Self portrait (1894)
Preparing for a navy academy festival
Vice admiral Eduard von Knorr
Harbour of Lacco Ameno (Ischia, Italy)
Pompei: 'Oh the poor poor dog'
Capri, Villa Allers
Ganymede (1913, signed as 'W.Andresen')
- Le dimore del mito, La Conchiglia, Capri 1996, pp. 23 e 24