Hölbing's ancestors probably came from Saxony and are said to have moved from there to Neustadt in 1813. His father Wilhelm Anton Hölbing (* April 8, 1814; † November 24, 1895 in Neustadt) was a decorative painter and married to Katharina Rosina Friederike, née Haack (* 1821 in Neustadt; † November 24, 1858 ibid). He himself married Louise Bedey, with whom he had no children and who died in Holstein in 1923.
Hölbing proved to be artistically gifted early on. Despite the offer of a wealthy benefactor to finance his training from the Munich Academy, he stayed with his widowed father and completed an apprenticeship with the master painter Speth from Neustadt. His teacher owned a carousel on the Tivoli in Copenhagen , through which Hölbing got to know annual markets, which shaped his later career.
In the beginning Hölbing created portraits, landscapes and genre scenes. He turned out to be of little talent, found few buyers and suffered hardship. Showmen who came to see him in Neustadt increasingly helped him to earn a secure income. There were resellers for individual items at Hamburg Cathedral . He designed nameplates for fairground stalls, which were called "signs", and background and front images for photographic studios. He supplied the Sarrasani Circus for its animal shows and created side panels for carousels, panoramas and wax figure cabinets. There were also advertising signs and pictures for organ wagons. For music wagons, he repeatedly created the image of the “Trumpeter of Säckingen”. On behalf of the Scheel company from Preetz , which offered attractions with aerial swings, he designed side pictures and the painting “Concert with the Queen of England” for a mountain-and-valley train.
In the years from 1891 to 1894, Hölbing carefully noted the names and assignments of the showmen. He designed complete fair stands or pictures with the titles “Criminal Gallery”, “One-Way Disaster in Basel” or “Battlefields from the War of 1870/71”. He made his main business with signs for morality singers . The orders came from well-known bailiff singers, including Emil and Max Koch, Wilhelm Hintze and Emil Kochler. The bailiff Rosemann alone commissioned more than 70 signs, Emil Koch 19 pieces in three and a half years. Since the signs had to be constantly rolled up, the singers needed hard-wearing material and usually provided motifs and image layout. The paintings made on firm canvas were 300 × 180 cm in size. Hölbing received 30 marks for a morality sign. With the best order book, he received 2409 marks for 527 m² of painted canvas, which was half the annual wage. Since he lived modestly, he was able to build up reserves and buy a small house in the brick yard in which he set up a studio. War bonds and inflation took his fortune. After the death of his wife, he separated from the house and lived with relatives until his death.
Hölbing worked in the style of traditional painters of morality signs, which had been created since the 17th century, but brought in important accents himself that led to a late and final marriage of this art form. He designed the signs by putting together five to eight individual images. He provided this with a matching basic shade and created connections between them through ornamented borders. The structure of the pictures is characterized by the diagonal that dominated the sequences of movements and props.
Hölbing worked with strongly dynamic gestures and knew how to match the backgrounds such as rocky gorges, salons or tombs accordingly. According to the lyrics of the song, the characters concentrated on a few people. He painted flat faces and kept clothing and equipment in little detail. Probably the last significant bailiff, Ernst Becker from Berlin, said that Hölbing was "the best painter of all". "At the Hamburg Cathedral, the sign singers got new signs in wonderful colors, lots of coffins, funerals, weddings, that was a drag back then and brought a lot of money."
Hölbing created more than 100 pictures, most of which no longer exist today. Most of his estate went to the Museum of the City of Neustadt in Holstein , and other paintings to museums in Berlin, Braunschweig, Hamburg, Lübeck, Cologne, Schleswig and Stuttgart.
- Christa Pieske : The morality sign painter Adam Hölbing from Neustadt in Holstein. In: Jahrbuch für Heimatkunde in the district of Oldenburg / Holstein , year 1965, pp. 87–114
- Christa Pieske: Hölbing, Adam . in: Schleswig-Holstein biographical lexicon . Volume 5. Wachholtz, Neumünster 1979. ISBN 3-529-02645-X , pages 137-139.
- Christa Pieske: Hölbing, Adam . in: Schleswig-Holstein biographical lexicon . Volume 5. Wachholtz, Neumünster 1979. ISBN 3-529-02645-X , page 137.
- Christa Pieske: Hölbing, Adam . in: Schleswig-Holstein biographical lexicon . Volume 5. Wachholtz, Neumünster 1979. ISBN 3-529-02645-X , pages 137-138.
- Christa Pieske: Hölbing, Adam . in: Schleswig-Holstein biographical lexicon . Volume 5. Wachholtz, Neumünster 1979. ISBN 3-529-02645-X , page 138.
- Christa Pieske: Hölbing, Adam . in: Schleswig-Holstein biographical lexicon . Volume 5. Wachholtz, Neumünster 1979. ISBN 3-529-02645-X , pages 138-139.
- Christa Pieske: Hölbing, Adam . In: Schleswig-Holstein biographical lexicon . Volume 5. Wachholtz, Neumünster 1979. ISBN 3-529-02645-X , page 139.
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Hölbing, Adam Johann Ludwig (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German morality sign and showman painter|
|DATE OF BIRTH||February 15, 1855|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Neustadt in Holstein|
|DATE OF DEATH||June 3, 1929|
|Place of death||Neustadt in Holstein|