Alfred Lichtwark

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Alfred Lichtwark, photograph by Rudolf Dührkoop , 1899

Alfred Lichtwark (born November 14, 1852 in Hamburg - Reitbrook ; † January 13, 1914 in Hamburg) was a German art historian , museum director and art teacher in Hamburg. He is one of the founders of museum education and the art education movement .

Origin and career

Hamburg-Reitbrook, Vorderdeich 9, Lichtwark's birthplace

Alfred Lichtwark was the son of the miller Friedrich Johann Carl Ernst Lichtwark, who owned the Reitbrooker mill . He had three half-siblings from his father's first marriage. Alfred Lichtwark's mother Johanne Helene Henrietta b. Bach (1829–1909) supposedly came from the direct line of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach . After Alfred had had a happy childhood in the country with his siblings Hans, who emigrated to Australia , and Marianne (1857–1930), their father was forced to sell the mill in 1858 due to lack of money. The family moved to Hamburg, where the father ran an inn that was also running poorly and the family lived in poor circumstances. Lichtwark, who attended the community school, turned out to be a very talented and versatile student and helped out as an assistant teacher after school. In 1873 he made up his Abitur at the Christianeum in Altona and, thanks to a scholarship to which Justus Brinckmann helped him, studied art and education in Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin. After finishing his studies, he worked at several elementary and community schools in Berlin. Lichtwark was very dissatisfied with the pedagogy at the time, which led him to the idea of ​​a new type of school or pedagogy in Berlin.

Director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle

Alfred Lichtwark, painted by Leopold Karl Walter Graf von Kalckreuth , 1912

Why Lichtwark was asked in 1886 whether he wanted to take over the office of director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle , which was previously administered by only one person from the Senate, is unclear. From December 3, 1886, he was the first director of the Hamburger Kunsthalle, whose collection he systematically expanded. Today's inventory is still based largely on the foundations created by Lichtwark. On the one hand, he specifically collected Hamburg's medieval art (in particular works by Master Bertram and Master Francke ) and, on the other hand, acquired works of German Romanticism ( Caspar David Friedrich , Philipp Otto Runge ) and contemporary artists of the late 19th century such as Pierre Bonnard , Lovis Corinth , Wilhelm Leibl , Adolph Menzel and Edouard Vuillard . With his active buying practice and intensive public relations work, he succeeded in broadening the understanding of the then current art. In addition to the great interest in French Impressionism , he strongly advocated the Hamburg art scene, was the initiator of the founding of the Hamburg Artists' Club and commissioned Hamburg painters such as Gotthardt Kuehl and Wilhelm Trübner . The concern to erect an artistic monument to his hometown Hamburg also led to orders from painters such as Max Liebermann and Theodor Hagen , from whom he acquired several port pictures. During his tenure, Lichtwark made several trips to Dresden, Weimar, Frankfurt / Main, Geneva, Paris, London and Stockholm, where he was looking for many art motifs. He also brought Master Bertram's Grabower Altar , the former altar of the Hamburg Petrikirche , back to Hamburg from the church in Grabow . In 1906 this was exhibited for the first time in the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Lichtwark also criticized the zeitgeist of the time and the separation of layers of people in Germany and in other parts of Europe. His educational ideas ultimately led to the establishment of the Lichtwark School .

Lichtwarks gravestone in the "Althamburg Memorial Cemetery"

Alfred Lichtwark was friends with Max Liebermann , Leopold von Kalckreuth , Hans Olde , sponsor of Count Kessler and the mayor Max Predöhl .

The founding and conception of the Museum of Hamburg History go back to his initiative, as well as the early artistic education. In 1896 he opened an exhibition in the Kunsthalle on the subject of how children think and paint.

His exercises in the observation of works of art , during which he systematically discussed works of art with students in his museum, are groundbreaking. He disseminated the findings in lectures and several books. This makes him one of the founders of museum education . Alfred Lichtwark remained director of the Kunsthalle until his death in 1914. He died of complications from stomach cancer. At the funeral service in the (old) crematorium on Alsterdorfer Straße, Max Liebermann gave the funeral speech. Two months later there was an official memorial service in the music hall, at which Mayor Max Predöhl paid tribute to Lichtwark. The ashes were buried in the part of the Ohlsdorf cemetery in Hamburg called "Althamburgischer Gedächtnisfriedhof" (grave 24). The tombstone was designed by Fritz Schumacher , who was buried many years later next to Lichtwark. Lichtwark's successor at the Kunsthalle was Gustav Pauli .

Lichtwark Prize

The Lichtwark Prize , founded in 1951 by the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on the occasion of Alfred Lichtwark's 100th birthday, is awarded every five years.


Named after Alfred Lichtwark:

  • in Eppendorf the Lichtwarkstraße
  • Today's Heinrich-Hertz-Schule in Hamburg- Winterhude was called the Lichtwarkschule between 1920 and 1937 (in 1937 it was merged with the Heinrich-Hertz-Realgymnasium to form the Oberschule am Stadtpark for boys ). The most famous high school graduate of this school was the former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt .
  • the Lichtwark-Heft , a culture magazine that has been published since 1948 - initially monthly, now annually - by HB-Werbung, Hamburg-Bergedorf, ISSN  1862-3549 .
  • a theater organizer in Bergedorf "LICHTWARK BERGEDORF THEATER Haus im Park".
  • in Bergedorf the light garage with house of youth and daycare and workers welfare
  • the Lichtwark Society , Hamburg, founded a Heinz Spielmann gifted scholarship to promote young artists.


  • The importance of amateur photography. Knapp, Halle (Saale) 1894.
  • The rediscovery of the medal. Gerhard Küthmann, Dresden, 1897 ( digitized ).
  • Hans Holbein's pictures of death. Reproduced from the proofs and the Lyons edition of 1547 in the Kunsthalle zu Hamburg. Commeter, Hamburg 1897 ( digitized edition ).
  • Hamburg Lower Saxony. Gerhard Küthmann, Dresden 1897 ( digitized version ).
  • The portrait in Hamburg. Lütcke & Wulff, Hamburg 1898.
  • The soul as a work of art. Böcklin studies. Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1899 ( digitized version ).
  • Julius Oldach. Kunsthalle zu Hamburg, Hamburg 1899 ( digitized ).
  • Master Francke. Kunsthalle zu Hamburg, Hamburg 1899 ( digitized ).
  • Exercises in viewing works of art. [Printed as a manuscript in 1897 by Lütcke & Wulff Hamburg] Kühtmann, Dresden 1900 ( digitized ).
  • Three programs (= basics of artistic education. Vol. 4). Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1902 ( digitized version ).
  • From practice (= basics of artistic education. Vol. 5). Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1902 ( digitized version ).
  • From the field of work of amateurism (= basics of artistic education. Vol. 13). Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1902 ( digitized version ).
  • Park and garden studies. The problems of the Hamburg city park, the heather garden. Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1909 ( digitized version ).

Essays on photography

  • Incunables of portrait photography. In: Photographische Rundschau . 14th year, 1900, p. 25 ff. ( Digitized version ).
  • The Hamburg exhibition. In: Photographische Rundschau. 10 year, 1896, pp. 13–17, pp. 51–54 ( digitized version ).
  • The amateur photographer and nature. In: Photographische Rundschau. 7th year, 1893, p. 378 ff., P. 424 ff. ( Digitized version ).


  • Henrike Junge-Gent: Alfred Lichtwark. Between the times. (= Research on the history of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Volume 3). Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-422-07142-1 .
  • Rudolf Großkopff: Alfred Lichtwark. Ellert and Richter, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-8319-0076-0 (biography).
  • Alfred Hentzen:  Lichtwark, Alfred. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 14, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-428-00195-8 , pp. 467-469 ( digitized version ).
  • Werner Kayser: Alfred Lichtwark. (= Hamburg Bibliographies. Volume 19). Christians, Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-7672-0531-9 (bibliography).
  • Hans Präffcke: Alfred Lichtwark's concept of art. Olms, Hildesheim et al. 1986, ISBN 3-487-07731-0 .
  • Carsten Meyer-Tönnesmann : The Hamburg artist club from 1897. Atelier in the farmhouse, Fischerhude 1997, ISBN 3-88132-255-8 .
  • Nobumasa Kiyonaga: Alfred Lichtwark: Art education as cultural policy. Kopaed, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-86736-117-0 .
  • Harald Richert: Alfred Lichtwark - love of flowers and garden art. In: Lichtwark booklet . Issue 69, 2004
  • Elisabeth Scheele: Memories of Lichtwark's work for art education . In: Lichtwark booklet. Issue 21, 1961.

Web links

Commons : Alfred Lichtwark  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Henny Wiebking: Alfred Lichtwark's early days . In: Lichtwark No. 17. Ed. Lichtwark Committee, Bergedorf 1958. See now: Verlag HB-Werbung, Hamburg-Bergedorf. ISSN  1862-3549 .
  2. ^ Henny Wiebking: From Alfred Lichtwark's early days . In: Lichtwark No. 19. Ed. Lichtwark Committee, Bergedorf 1959. See now: Verlag HB-Werbung, Hamburg-Bergedorf. ISSN  1862-3549 .
  3. HAMBURG ANNO 1894 - THE RETURNING SHIPMANN ON THE ELBE. REALIST LEOPOLD VON KALCKREUTH AND THE HAMBURGER KUNSTHALLE. In: André Chahil | Gallery & Art Consulting . July 26, 2017 ( [accessed July 27, 2017]).
  5. Alfred Lichtwark's grave at
  6. Press archive on
  7. ^ Reiner Lehberger : The Lichtwark School in Hamburg. Hamburg, 1996; S. 5. ISBN 3-929728-27-3
  9. ^ Website of the Lichtwark Society, Hamburg
  10. In this edition, directly behind the title page, there is a list of writings by Alfred Lichtwark .