Friedrich Kaulbach

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Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Kaulbach
Born 8 July 1822
Bad Arolsen, Principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Died 17 September 1903
Engesohde, Hanover
Nationality German
Known for portraitist, historical scenes
Notable work Portrait of Girl and Dog, Coronation of Charlemagne
Movement late Romantic
Awards Gold Medal, Berlin Art Academy, 1873
Patron(s) George V, King of Hannover

Theodor Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Kaulbach (8 July 1822 – 17 September 1903) was a German painter from Bad Arolsen, Principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont. His father was Christian Kaulbach (1777–1847), a cabinet maker in Arolsen. He was also the cousin and at one time the student of the painter Wilhelm von Kaulbach, son of Philipp Karl Friedrich v. Kaulbach (1775–1846), goldsmith and amateur painter; Wilhelm's son, Hermann von Kaulbach (1846–1909); and his own son, Friedrich August von Kaulbach (1850–1920).

Early years[edit]

Coronation of Charlemagne, 1861

After a visit to Venice in 1844, he and his uncle parted ways. He painted independently until 1848, when he executed the painting Adam and Eve beside the body of Abel. This led to a call to a professorship at the Art Academy of Munich, which he declined.

In 1850 he traveled to Paris, where he produced historical paintings, and supported himself through portraiture. In 1850, Maximilian II of Bavaria commissioned him to paint the Coronation of Charlemagne for the Museum Maximilianeum. The picture was completed in 1861.

Establishment as court painter in Hannover[edit]

Woman at her jewelry table

Kaulbach served as the court painter to King George V, whom he repeatedly portrayed, where he was a favorite portrait painter of the local nobility. While he was the court painter to Hanover, he received a professorship at the University of Hanover; among other benefits, the king gave his own studio and residential building, designed by the architect of the Hanoverian Christian Heinrich Tramm 1857-60 on Waterloo Street in Hanover. The house today is part of the Waterloo Beergarden. In her memoirs, his daughter Isidore described the visitors to the family home, who included Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt, Joseph Joachim, Ernst von Wildenbruch and Anton Rubinstein.

His numerous portraits, such as those of the Sissy, the Empress of Austria, the Crown Prince Albrecht, the Count and Countess Stolberg, are extraordinarily detailed, even luminescent. The best women's portraits have enhanced his reputation. Kaulbach received the Gold Medal from the Berlin Art Academy at the Vienna World Exhibition of 1873.

Frederick Kaulbach's grave may be found in the town cemetery Engesohde in Hanover.

Kaulbach's son, Friedrich August von Kaulbach, was also a painter.

Prominent works[edit]

  • Adam and Eve by Abel's Body (1848, Museum für Bildende Künste, Leipzig)
  • Elisabeth Nay (1860; Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum)
  • Coronation of Charlemagne (1861, Maximilaneum, München)
  • Juliet Capulet’s Wedding Morning (1862–1903; Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum, Hannover)
  • Blind King George V (c. 1866; Hannover, Niedersachs. Landesmuseum)


  • Isidore Kaulbach, Friedrich Kaulbach. Memories of my father's home. Berlin: 1931.
  • Henning Rischbieter: Hannoversches Lesebuch or: What in Hanover, and Hanover written, printed and read the paper. Volume 2: 1850-1950. 2nd Ed Hanover: Schlueter 1991, p. 102-105 (with excerpts from Isidore Kaulbachs memories). ISBN 3-87706-359-4
  • Hugo Thielen, Hannoverian biographical dictionary. From its beginnings to the present day. Hanover: Schlueter 2002, p. 195.