Hans Aschenborn

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Male Lion, watercolour, Kiel (Germany)

Hans Anton Aschenborn (1 February 1888 – 10 April 1931) was a renowned animal painter of African wildlife. He worked both in Germany and in southern Africa.[1][2][3][4] His work is featured in the older German Thieme-Becker or Saur art encyclopedia.[5] A Master of Arts thesis by Karin Skawran [6] concerning the graphic works of Hans Anton Aschenborn was published in the South African art and culture periodical, Lantern in 1965.[7]) In 1963 the University of Pretoria published a book about Aschenborn as an artist entitled, Hans Anton Aschenborn : Mens en Kunstenaar.[8] In 1970 another one followed by the Pretoria Art Museum (South Africa).[9] Other publications on Aschenborn feature his etchings and linocuts.[10][11]

He is well known for his illustrations of books and as an author and poet. Many of his works still are featured and may be found on the Internet. He was revered as a pioneer in the realistic portrayal of African wildlife. In 1916 he wrote the lyrics of the song, "Heia Safari", which also remains popular.[12] Some of his German books were translated into Afrikaans, giving him a role in Afrikaans literature.[2][7][13] While working on his book about gemsbok (which was also translated into English)[14] and closely observing them, Aschenborn discovered a variety that has been named after him, Genus Aschenborni.[15][16]

In southern Africa, he has been honored frequently with dedications. In Windhoek (Namibia) there is the Aschenborn Street, and in Cape Town (South Africa) the Hans Aschenborn Road was named after Hans Anton. Hotels and lodges have special Aschenborn Rooms. A search of the Internet for "Aschenborn art" provides many results.[3]


Gemsbok, watercolour, Kiel (Germany)

He was born in Kiel, Germany. In 1909, he emigrated to Namibia, where in 1912 he bought a farm named, "Quickborn". In 1913 he married Emma Bredow. He moved with his family to South Africa in 1920, before returning to Germany in 1921. He died in Kiel during April 1931.[17]

His son, Dieter Aschenborn (15 November 1915 – 11 September 2002), and his grandson, Uli Aschenborn (6 September 1947), also are well-known animal painters in the south of Africa. The art work of all three Aschenborns may be found in the galleries, museums, and public buildings of Namibia.[3][4] and an exhibition of the work of all three generations was held in Namibia during 1965.

Exhibitions (selection)[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Artists trade union of Russia, according to the Russian link United Art Rating Hans Anton Aschenborn belongs to the 10000 best world artists of the last two centuries (look for 'Hans Anton Aschenborn' in the list)
  2. ^ a b Chapter in Afrikaans about Hans Anton Aschenborn also as a writer (please scroll down to the end) in wikisource by Pieter Cornelis Schoonees, who wrote about Hans Anton Aschenborn (translated): "On the field of artistically portraying our wildlife he is a pioneer …" [1])
  3. ^ a b c Philander, Frederick (art critic), Namibian Artist Gets European Recognition, Diplomacy Namibia, Namibia’s Premier International Affairs Website (source New Era), 21.08.2009
  4. ^ a b The Aschenborn Clan in the Tempo with Aschenborn history, 1992
  5. ^ German reference
  6. ^ Karin Skawran has become a professor afterwards as can be seen from the text in the following link [2]
  7. ^ a b (Only in print) Master of Arts thesis about Hans Anton's graphical Work by Karin Skawran in the 'Lantern' - A Journal of Knowledge and Culture, (1965 December - Vol. XV, No. 2, pp. 58/67 [3] )
  8. ^ 1963, University of Pretoria, book by Karin M. Skawran in Afrikaans named Hans Anton Aschenborn : Mens en Kunstenaar [4]
  9. ^ Book about Hans Anton printed in 1970 by the Pretoria Art Museum (South Africa)[5]
  10. ^ Aschenborn's Etchings = Etse = Radierungen, Karin M. Skawran, 1972
  11. ^ Hans Anton Aschenborn - Linosneë = Linocuts = Linolschnitte, Karin M. Skawran, 1971.[6]
  12. ^ Aschenborn wrote the text for the song Heia Safari, which is still popular.[7]
  13. ^ a b Reference to the Commemorative Exhibition 1981 as well as to some of Aschenborn's books [8]
  14. ^ The life story of a gemsbuck; my gemsbuck book by Hans Anton Aschenborn, 1921 [9]
  15. ^ Gemsbok, Oryx: Genus Aschenborni[10]
  16. ^ Aschenborn’s Oryx
  17. ^ Biographies of Namibian Personalities - search for Aschenborn, Hans Anton[11]
  18. ^ (Only in print) The Windhoek Advertiser (No. 5732, 21 September 1965) - The story behind the Aschenborn exhibition - Family's art through three generations