Decorative painting

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Decorative painter at his work

Decorative painting and decorative painter was and is an independent subject area of ​​the painter's profession and is considered to be handicrafts .

job profile

Decorative painting has been known since ancient times and can still be seen today on the preserved frescoes and wall designs of Pompeii . When interest in antiquity awoke in Europe in the 19th century , the demand for decorative painting also increased. It was an independent subject area of ​​the painter's profession, which was also reflected in the higher wages of the decorative painter compared to the painter. In the Berlin address book of 1836 alone there were e.g. B. seven decorative painters alone, who were listed by name. Up to the 19th century, stage sets also consisted mainly of painted rear prospects , which the decorative painters were responsible for making. The need for decorative painting in the larger cities was very high. Many painters made a living with such decorations.

“Decorative painting is part of the arts and crafts. It is a handicraft which, in its simplest achievements, becomes ordinary craft, but in its highest it is fully part of the actual art. The smoothly painted wall on the one hand and the ceiling painting, the theater curtain rich in figures on the other hand may be seen as the opposites between which the profession of decorative painter unfolds.

Painting creates its pictures because of the pictures; it is an end in itself. Decorative painting adorns the works of architecture and decorates the products of the trades; it is the art of furnishing, hence the term “ staff painting ” , which is used synonymously . "

- Karl Eyth and Franz Sales-Meyer

Decorative painting was an independent profession in Germany until the 1930s. It only became part of the painting profession in the 1950s and was almost completely forgotten in the 1970s, only to come back to life in the early 1990s. Today, decorative painting can mainly be found in the field of restoration . Today the profession of stage painter is an independent, state-recognized training profession .

Since the early 1990s there has been an annual international meeting of the world's best decorative painters called SALON . The first meeting took place in France in 1996 . Other places were z. B. Paris , New York City , London , Oslo , Chicago , Aarhus , Versailles , Bruges and Atlanta . For a long time, Karl Groissenberger was the only German-speaking participant at this meeting. The last meeting took place in Hamburg in March 2012 and was a project by the Freifrau von Schulz eV association . B. had to emigrate to France or Belgium , where the craft is still cultivated today. Meanwhile, however, a training opportunity is also offered in southern Germany.

Applications and Techniques

  • Wall painting: painted wall pictures, murals, illusion painting, facade design.
  • Wood painting, wood imitation: The aim of wood painting is a wide variety of wood species in their characteristic color, grain and wavy grain imitate; Here, techniques of glaze and grain with special tools such as modellers, distributors and combs are used.
  • Marble painting: This means the picturesque imitation of the various types of marble. Marble painting is also a glaze technique; In contrast to wood painting, it is also possible to paint or marble on absorbent surfaces such as glue paint or mineral paint. First-class marble paintings - executed by a skilled hand - such as those in the Semperoper in Dresden , come very close to real marble and are often hardly distinguishable for the layperson. In interaction with the architecture, painted marble represents a refinement of the object. Marble was already painted in Roman antiquity, for example in Pompeii .
  • Stone painting or stone imitation, painted stone wall (stone painting, stone wall): The picturesque imitation of stone could also be assigned to illusion painting or trompe-l'œil or marble painting ( onyx ).
  • Stencil painting: By stenciling or patronizing, ornaments, patterns or letters are reproduced using a stencil punched out of sheet metal or cardboard . Walls or ceilings can be ornamented relatively quickly with this technique. The use of stencils in decorative painting goes back a long way historically and is still used today in a wide variety of living styles.
  • The writings painting, also known as calligraphy , is executed either with a brush or the pen directly in the flow of writing, or constructed in a larger format and with brush and mahlstick painted or painter ruler. And it is used for signs and boards, directly on the facade of a shop as a company sign, on wood, fabric and documents. The writing painting belongs to the profession of the decoration painter.
  • The coat of arms painting also called heraldry : The coat of arms painting has its own laws in form and ornamentation such as the acanthus leaf.
  • The ornamentation  : it is a private area in the decorative painting, which on typical features in Architectural Styles is built epochs So each style has its own elements in the ornamentation such as the cymatium also called the egg and dart pattern, palm leaves, acanthus leaves, and many others this also includes the knowledge of the various pillars, capital and base , the elements in the design are clearly differentiated and defined in the so-called style .
  • Grisaille , mock architecture, shadow painting, three-dimensional painting and colored plastic: This means painting on gray surfaces. By skillfully painting "light and shadow", the flat gray background begins to appear three-dimensional and a perfect eye illusion is created .
  • Restoration: preserving and preserving old substance. This includes exposing the original, consolidating or preserving, retouching what has been destroyed, adding to or reconstructing what is missing. These are often decorative paintings made with the same colors and techniques that are still used today. The tools used at that time have hardly changed in some techniques.
  • Color theory , color science and color production. The theory of colors is a basic element of the profession of the decorative painter, as is material and color science. Both old and new recipes are taught for your own color production, and their use is usually applied either in accordance with the principles of stylistics to carry out technically correct restoration or new painting according to old models or to enable designs which perfectly fit into the existing one Spatial situation can be integrated. In addition, a decorative painter learns everything about substrates and their properties in order to enable high-quality work that is durable and to enable a certain guarantee for the customer.

Well-known decorative painters


  • Karl Friedrich Schinkel and Peter Christian Wilhelm Beuth, eds. Models for manufacturers and craftsmen , 1821
  • Marius Wölfer, magazine of the most modern and tasteful architectural decorations , Quedlinburg and Leipzig 1829
  • Karl Boetticher, Ornaments Book , Berlin between 1834 and 1856
  • Rosendahl and Asmus, Aid book for drawing architectural, artistic and technical decorations , Berlin 1835
  • Unknown, paperback for the carpenter , Berlin and Hamburg 1836
  • Wilhelm Zimmermann; Private school of painting, Mannheim-Neckarau (ed.): The school of practice: textbook for learning wood and marble painting . Mannheim club printing house, no year (approx. 1930)
  • Josef H. Baum: wood painting and furniture painting. A textbook for painters and varnishers . Fachbuchverlag, Leipzig 1955
  • The painter's book, the decorative painting. K. Eyth et al. FS Meyer, Verlag EA Seemann Leipzig, 1899

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Schmidt company history from Switzerland , (PDF; 3.9 MB), on
  2. ^ Karl Eyth and Franz Sales-Meyer: Die Dekorationsmalerei , Leipzig 1899, Volume 1, p. 1
  3. Groissenberger paint and painting workshop: at the meeting of the world's best decorative painters on , (PDF; 169 kB), accessed on March 20, 2012.
  4. Project Show 2012 on, (PDF, 507 kB), accessed March 20, 2013.