Max Slevogt

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Max Slevogt, 1925
Photo: Hugo Erfurth

Franz Theodor Max Slevogt (born October 8, 1868 in Landshut , † September 20, 1932 in Leinsweiler - Neukastel / Pfalz ) was a German painter , graphic artist , illustrator and stage designer of German impressionism .

Slevogt occupies a special position in landscape painting . Together with Lovis Corinth and Max Liebermann , he was one of the representatives of open-air painting who, in contrast to studio painting, work directly in front of the motif in the great outdoors. Slevogt was a founding member of the German Association of Artists and the Working Group of Palatinate Artists .

life and work

Max Slevogt, 1917
Portrait by Emil Orlik

Slevogt was a son of the Bavarian captain Friedrich von Slevogt and his wife Caroline von Slevogt, nee. Lucas, who came from Saarbrücken . After his father's death in 1870, his mother and her son moved to Würzburg . He spent his school days there from 1874 to 1884. Occasionally he visited Landau in the Palatinate and the Finkler family in Neukastel.

From 1884 to 1889 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. It was there that the first landscape paintings were created in Neukastel. His teachers there were u. a. Wilhelm von Diez , Gabriel von Hackl , Karl Raupp and Johann Caspar Herterich . In 1889 he enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris . The first pictures, taken in Munich, were dominated by a brownish studio shade that gave way to an impressionistic variety of colors towards the end of the 1890s. This becomes clear, for example, in the main work The Champagne Song , which is also known as the White d'Andrade .

Self-portrait (oil on wood), 1915

In 1890 Slevogt went on a study trip to Italy with his painter friend Robert Breyer (1866–1941) . Then he settled in Munich as a freelance artist. In addition to Wilhelm Leibl , Arnold Böcklin, with his historical and symbolist themes, was one of his role models .

Slevogt's work is extensive and includes not only panel paintings , stage sets and wall paintings , but also watercolors , drawings , prints and book illustrations . By his work, he understood not only the transfer of visual impressions onto the canvas, but also the unleashing of the imagination across all areas.

In 1892 Slevogt was one of the founders of the Free Association of the XXIV from the Munich Secession .

In 1896 he drew caricatures for the Munich magazines Simplicissimus and Jugend . A year later he had his first solo exhibition in Vienna .

In 1898 he married Antonie ( Nini ) Finkler (1864–1932) from Godramstein , whom he often portrayed, as the depiction of family members was a focus of his work. Slevogt often portrayed his mother-in-law Henriette Finkler, nee. Osthoff-Hartmuth, from Steinweiler near Landau (1838–1917).

In 1898 he visited the Rembrandt exhibition in Amsterdam . The following year he took part in the exhibition of the Munich Secession with the painting Danaë . The picture was removed from the exhibition because of alleged profanity . At the first exhibition at the Berlin Secession , his triptych The Prodigal Son was a great success.

In 1900 he traveled back to Paris, where his work Scheherezade was represented in the German Pavilion at the World's Fair . In the same year Slevogt received strong impressions of the pictures by Édouard Manet . In 1901 he settled in Berlin with Lovis Corinth and became a member of the Berlin Secession . During this time he worked for the Cologne chocolate producer Ludwig Stollwerck with designs for Stollwerck collector's pictures and designed a. a. “The wild hunt”, which he did not, however, sign.

Together with Paul Klimsch he went to the Frankfurt Zoo to paint there, Klimsch captured his colleague in a painting.

In the period after 1900 he created a painting style that was free of foreign influences and compact in terms of material; Composition and coloring are firmly coordinated there. Another change came through the pictures taken in Egypt . The color power of the glistening light finally replaced the intrinsic value of matter. In the same year he was appointed professor at the instigation of the Bavarian Prince Regent Luitpold . His first book illustration, Ali Baba and the Forty Robbers , was created in 1903 , and he painted the famous picture The Champagne Song or The White d'Andrade (1902). It is one of the main works of German art around 1900 and shows the famous Portuguese baritone Francisco d'Andrade , who celebrated triumphs in Berlin in the role of Don Giovanni . Slevogt had become friends with him, who had a good voice himself and had to choose between painting and singing; For a while he even wanted to be a singer. The picture is called Der Weiße d'Andrade because there are two other portraits by Francisco d'Andrade: Der Schwarze d'Andrade (1903, Kunsthalle Hamburg ) and Der Rote d'Andrade (1912, Nationalgalerie Berlin ).

In 1905 Black Scenes appeared by Bruno Cassirer . A year later, Slevogt began designing sets and costumes for Max Reinhardt's Kammerspiele at the German Theater in Berlin.

Slevogt, 1908, in the middle, seated

Slevogt's children Nina and Wolfgang were born in 1907 and 1908. In 1909 the picture Landhaus in Godramstein was created . On behalf of the Prince Regent Luitpold he painted 1908-1910 a series of landscapes, portraits and ceremonies, such as the requiem of Georgiritter (Mass for the Dead of the Knights of St. George in the Court Church at Munich).

In February 1914 he set off on a trip to Egypt. There, 21 paintings as well as numerous watercolors and drawings were created in 40 days. Slevogt's pictures of Egypt represent a high point in German Impressionist painting. On the way back, he stopped in Italy. In June he bought the Neukastel country estate, which until then had belonged to his in-laws. After extensions by the new owner, the ensemble is now called Slevogthof Neukastel .

After the beginning of the First World War , Slevogt was sent to the Western Front as an official war painter . He reflected his experiences of the war in visionary pictures. The war experience was shocking to him, which is why he looked for new forms of expression in order to find appropriate artistic forms of expression for the horrors of the First World War. In the same year he became a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin. In 1917 Slevogt was appointed head of a master painting studio at the Academy of Arts in Berlin . Here was u. a. the painter and later film actor Karl Dannemann (1896–1945) was his pupil.

During his time in Berlin, Slevogt - like other artists primarily from the Berlin Secession - was captured on photographs by the photographer Frieda Riess .

In 1924 he designed sets for the performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni in the Dresden State Opera . In addition, he worked on illustrations for Goethe's Faust II and painted the music hall of his summer residence in Neukastel. In 1927 he created his frescoes in the Bremen Ratskeller . The following year there was a large exhibition for Slevogt's 60th birthday in the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin. He also took part in exhibitions at the Prague Secession . From 1931 to 1932 the religious mural Golgotha ​​was created in the Friedenskirche in Ludwigshafen am Rhein . It was destroyed by bombs during World War II .

Slevogt was buried in the grave of the Finkler family on Neukastel.


Villa Ludwigshöhe (2018)
Slevogthof Neukastel , 2008, (center), above the community of Leinsweiler

On of Ludwig I of Bavaria built castle Villa Ludwigshöhe in Edenkoben which supervises Landesmuseum Mainz , the Max Slevogt Gallery . Several times a year, changing exhibitions mainly deal with the subject of Slevogt or Wittelsbacher . From August 20 to November 26, 2006 this was e.g. B. the special exhibition Berlin Impressionism: Liebermann, Slevogt, Corinth and the painters of the Berlin Secession (in cooperation with the Berlin National Gallery ).

The Max Slevogt private painting rooms at Slevogthof Neukastel in Leinsweiler are still preserved. Here Slevogt created wall and ceiling paintings (1924 and 1929), which, in addition to the frescoes in the Bremen Ratskeller, are the only murals by Slevogt still preserved today. From the terrace of the Slevogthof, the painter had a wide view of the Rhine plain to the east and south, which he documented in a series of paintings and watercolors at different times of the year. The Slevogthof is privately owned and is to be extensively renovated in the near future before it is reopened to the public.

Further works, u. a. the Egypt pictures can be seen in the New Masters Gallery in Dresden.

In September 2014, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate bought the extensive graphic estate from Slevogt's heirs. It is kept in the Landesmuseum Mainz and looked after scientifically. The Max Slevogt Research Center was founded there as the central research center for the scientific processing of his oeuvre.


Slevogt's works were already in demand during his lifetime and met the taste of the upper class.

Portrait of the dancer Marietta di Rigardo (1904)
  • The singer Francisco d'Andrade as Don Giovanni in Mozart's opera. 1902, oil on canvas 215 × 160 cm, Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin
  • Lady with cat. 1902, Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover
  • The singer Francisco d'Andrade, reading the newspaper. 1903, Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin
  • Portrait of the dancer Marietta di Rigardo. 1904, oil on canvas, 229 × 180 cm, Staatliche Kunstsamlungen Dresden, Galerie Neue Meister
  • Don Juan's encounter with the stone guest. 1906, oil on cardboard, 37.2 × 53.2 cm, Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin
  • Slaughtered pig. 1906, State Art Gallery Karlsruhe
  • Francisco d'Andrade as Don Giovanni . 1912, oil on canvas, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
  • Heather and trees. 1910, oil on canvas, 70.2 × 60.2 cm, private collection
  • Still life with fruit . 1911, State Art Gallery Karlsruhe
  • Garden path to the summer house. 1912, oil on canvas, 61.8 × 77.5 cm, private collection
  • Under the linden trees. 1913, Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
  • Bazaar in Aswan I . 1914, Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt
  • The Nile near Aswan. 1914, oil on canvas, 73.5 × 96 cm, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
  • Capuchin monastery in Syracuse , March 31, 1914, oil on panel, 50 × 65 cm, private collection
  • Negro boy Mursi . 1914, oil on canvas, 57 × 38 cm, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
  • Entering the port of Syracuse. 1914, Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern
Still life with flowers (1917)
  • Palatinate landscape. 1921, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe
  • Norderney harbor. 1923, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe
  • Portrait of Julius Freund . 1925, oil on canvas, Stadtmuseum Berlin Foundation
  • Portrait of the dancer Antonia Mercé called " La Argentina ". 1926, oil on canvas, 100 × 80.5 cm, National Museum Stettin
  • The family of the doctor János Plesch. 1928, oil on canvas, Jewish Museum Berlin
  • The Slevogt family in the garden of Godramstein. Oil on canvas, 60 × 200 cm, Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern
  • Self-portrait , created in the last years of Slevogt's life in 1930 or 1931, Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover

Book illustrations

- chronological -

New edition 1980 as paperback by Insel Verlag , with 112 lithographs by Max Slevogt, ISBN 978-3-458-32093-7 .



Slevogthof near Leinsweiler, 2002
Special stamp of the Deutsche Bundespost , 1.20  DM ; First edition : November 16, 1978
  • The Max Slevogt Medal , named after Slevogt, was donated in 1972 by the then Prime Minister Helmut Kohl and has since been awarded by the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate . It goes to visual artists or to supporters of the visual arts in Rhineland-Palatinate.
  • The Deutsche Bundespost issued a special stamp on November 16, 1978 as part of the German Impressionism series , on which Slevogt's oil painting Lady with a Cat is shown.
  • In Landau, the painter gave his name to the Max Slevogt Gymnasium , and several cities have dedicated a Max Slevogt Strasse to him.
  • On the occasion of Slevogt's 150th birthday , numerous events were held in his adopted home of Leinsweiler throughout 2018.
  • In 2018, a Slevogt hiking trail was set up in the southern Palatinate with information boards at twelve stations over a length of around nine kilometers. The hiking trail begins at Slevogthof near Leinsweiler .

Catalog raisonnés



  • “Art is like war”: The painter prince Max Slevogt. Documentary, Germany, 2018, 29:44 min., Book: Andreas Berg, camera: Winfried Kucharski, production: SWR , series: Known in the country , first broadcast: September 30, 2018 on SWR television , synopsis by ARD .

Web links

Commons : Max Slevogt  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Founded in 1903. In: Deutscher Künstlerbund , accessed on July 21, 2019.
  2. ^ Matriculation. In: Academy of Fine Arts Munich .
  3. a b image data: Nini am Weinspalier. In: , accessed on August 12, 2020.
  4. Image: ReklameKunst on collector's pictures around 1900. Max Slevogt: The wild hunt - Stollwerck chocolate. In: , accessed on August 12, 2020.
  5. Detlef Lorenz : Advertising art around 1900. Artist lexicon for collecting pictures. Reimer, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-496-01220-X .
  6. ^ Exhibition catalog: In the realm of the animals. Forays through art and nature. ( Memento from November 28, 2018 in the Internet Archive ). In: Wienand Verlag , (PDF; 18 p., 606 kB), ISBN 978-3-86832-105-0 , p. 35.
  7. “When Max Slevogt decided in 1913 to start the long-awaited journey to Egypt, he was at the height of his work. Under the impression of the African color and light conditions, 21 oil paintings, around 28 watercolors and a large number of drawings were created in a very short time, which in their intensity and cohesion are among the main works of Impressionist landscape painting. ”In: Max Slevogt in the Dresden gallery. Sandstein Verlag, Dresden 2012, ISBN 978-3-942422-71-0 , exhibition catalog.
    Commentary in the Harenberg art calendar 2010, sheet of May 24, 2010, on the picture The Nile near Aswan , Galerie Neue Meister Dresden.
  8. Slevogt collection completed. ( Memento of October 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). In: State government of Rhineland-Palatinate , September 26, 2014.
  9. Max Slevogt Research Center .
  10. In a work on Impressionism it says with a critical undertone: “The ' tennis tournament in the dunes ' (1909) by Ernst Oppler or Slevogt's ' Badehaus an der Havel ' (1912), as here the need for luxury of a very specific class is expressed. ”In: Richard Hamann , Jost Hermand : Impressionism . (= Epochs of German culture from 1870 to the present , volume 3.) Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, Munich 1972, p. 240, limited preview in the Google book search.
  11. 150 years of Max Slevogt. ( Memento of March 29, 2018 in the Internet Archive ). In: , 2018.
  12. Maike Schreiber: Palatinate Forest: In the footsteps of Max Slevogt. In: , October 28, 2018, with photo gallery.
  13. Martina Conrad: Hiking trail in the southern Palatinate to the life of the painter. Hike in the footsteps of Max Slevogt. In: SWR2 , September 21, 2018, eight photos.
  14. ^ Exhibition: Max Slevogt - The Berlin Years • June 4 - September 4, 2005. In: Stiftung Brandenburger Tor , 2005.