August von Wille

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August von Wille: Self-Portrait, 1848, Beda House, Bitburg

August Levin von Wille (born April 18, 1828 in Kassel , † March 31, 1887 in Düsseldorf ) was a German late romantic landscape and genre painter .


Wille came from a noble family in Hesse and was the youngest of eight children of the electoral Hessian secret government councilor and consistorial director Friedrich von Wille (1776-1837) and the Philippine von Hachenberg (1783-1876).

He married the animal painter Clara von Böttcher (born January 31, 1837 in Düsseldorf, † March 14, 1883 in Düsseldorf) on May 31, 1859 in Rüdesheim am Rhein , the daughter of the royal Prussian major Friedrich von Böttcher and Julie von Buggenhagen . Their son was the landscape painter Fritz von Wille (1860–1941).

life and work

Wille was the first artist in his family who was ennobled in 1780 and in which higher civil servants had dominated until then. He studied at the Academy in Kassel from 1843 to 1847, before entering the landscape class of Johann Wilhelm Schirmer at the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1847 . After military service from 1851 to 1852, he continued his training with Schirmer until 1854. In 1849 he became a member of the Düsseldorf artist association Malkasten .

Wille lived in Weimar from 1859 to 1863 after Grand Duke Karl-Alexander von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach had appointed him as a teacher at the local art school. In 1863 he finally returned to Düsseldorf with his family . He worked as a portraitist, landscape, architecture and genre painter. He traveled u. a. to Thuringia, Hesse, the Middle Rhine and the Moselle. He mainly painted his small-format landscapes outdoors.

Wille followed his teacher Schirmer stylistically, but broke away from his detailed realism. Until the end of his career, he was completely in the Düsseldorf school tradition . This includes its spacious atmospheric landscapes. Often he also painted romantically conceived city and architectural motifs, such as picturesque winding streets, castle and monastery ruins, often with small-figure staffage. Scenes by moonlight with stage lighting are typical of his oeuvre. He was also influenced stylistically and thematically by Caspar Johann Nepomuk Scheuren . Fantastic forest scenes testify to his recourse to romanticism.

By transferring the historical landscape painting by Carl Friedrich Lessing into the small format and the idyll, Wille approached genre painting. In addition to the landscape and genre paintings, several well-painted portraits are known.

Illustrations (selection)

Digitized editions of the University and State Library Düsseldorf :

  • In: Friedrich Bodenstedt (ed.): Album of German art and poetry. With woodcuts based on the artist's original drawings, made by R. Brend'amour. Grote, Berlin 1867, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-184 .
  • In: Aquarelle Dusseldorf artists: dedicated to the art-loving women. Arnz, Düsseldorf 1861, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-736 .
  • In: Gustav Wendt: Ballad wreath: collected from German poets. Grote, Berlin 1866, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-1665 .
  • In: Düsseldorf picture portfolio: original drawings. Grote, Berlin 1866, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-1138 .
  • In: Mary Botham Howitt: The Dusseldorf artist's album. Arnz, Dusseldorf 1854, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-115 .
  • Gottfried August Bürger: The Baron von Münchhausen's only true experiences on water and on land, on horseback and on foot, in war and peace, in the air and in several countries / This year completely rewritten by himself. And provided with very strange drawings from nature taken by the painter A. von Wille. Arnz, Düsseldorf 1856, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-1838 .
  • In: Ludwig Bund (Hrsg.): Lieder der Heimath: A collection of the most excellent poems in the picture decorations of German art. Breidenbach, Düsseldorf 1868, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-1174 .
  • In: Albert Wolff: Schultze and Müller in the Orient: humorous images of war. Arnz, Düsseldorf 1854, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-2152 .
  • Hermann Schauenburg: Strange and adventurous stories and deeds of the seven Swabians. Arnz, Düsseldorf 1856, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-1824 .
  • The women of Weinsberg, or manly cunning and womanly courage, or nothing new under the sun , urn : nbn: de: hbz: 061: 2-35420 .


  • Will, August of. In: Friedrich von Boetticher: painter works of the 19th century. Contribution to art history. Volume 2/2, sheets 33–67: Saal – Zwengauer. Ms. v. Boetticher's Verlag, Dresden 1901, pp. 1018-1019 ( ). - Different year of birth 1829.
  • Will, August of . In: Hans Wolfgang Singer (Ed.): General Artist Lexicon. Life and works of the most famous visual artists . Prepared by Hermann Alexander Müller . 5th unchanged edition. tape 5 : Vialle-Zyrlein. Supplements and corrections . Literary Institute, Rütten & Loening, Frankfurt a. M. 1921, p. 99 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive - 1829 as the year of birth).
  • Wille, August Levin from . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 36 : Wilhelmy-Zyzywi . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1947, p. 10 .
  • Genealogical handbook of the nobility , Adelige Häuser B. Volume VI, p. 445, Volume 32 of the complete series, CA Starke Verlag, Limburg (Lahn) 1964.
  • Alfons W. Biermann, Hubert Meyer: The Rhenish landscape in the picture. The von Wille family of painters. Exhib. Cat., District Museum Blankenheim 1976.
  • Margot Klütsch (arrangement): The collection of Wille in the House of Beda Bitburg. Museum catalog, Bitburg 1992, pp. 12, 36, 37, No. 1–8 with illus.
  • Hans Paffrath (Ed.): Lexicon of the Düsseldorf School of Painting 1819–1918. Volume 3: Nabert-Zwecker. Published by the Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf in the Ehrenhof and by the Paffrath Gallery. Bruckmann, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-7654-3011-0 , pp. 422-426 m. 4 fig.
  • Louis Katzenstein:  Will, August . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 43, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1898, p. 254 - different year of birth 1829.
  • Wolfgang Alberth: August von Wille (1828-1887). A Düsseldorf painter between romanticism and realism. Imhof, Petersberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-7319-0782-4 .

Web links

Commons : August von Wille  - Collection of images, videos and audio files