Robert Krause (painter)

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Robert Krause , 1858, portrayed by Carl Friedrich Lessing
Robert Krause: Weistropp Castle , 1832

Robert Krause (born April 23, 1813 in Saint Petersburg , † December 21, 1885 in Munich ) was a landscape painter of the 19th century. Through his diaries from South America he was rediscovered as a travel writer , especially in Argentina at the beginning of the 21st century .


As a child, Robert Krause first lived in Russia (Saint Petersburg and Moscow), then in Vienna, Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe. In 1824 his parents moved to Weistropp Castle between Meißen and Dresden, which the uncle Jacob von Krause, a wealthy merchant and art patron, had acquired and furnished with art treasures. a. with paintings by Leonardo da Vinci , Murillo (?), van Dyck , Mengs and sculptures by Thorvaldsen , which are now in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Inspired by this environment, Robert Krause painted large landscapes at the age of 14.

After setting off on his first Grand Tour to Italy and Paris (1829–1831), his father died. From April 1833 to March 1834 Krause was a commercial employee of the company Huth, Grüning & Co. in London, from July 1834 in the Valparaíso branch of this company, at times also in Lima . To do this, he sailed from Gravesend near London to Cape Horn from March to July 1834 . A navigational error almost cost him his life on this voyage off the Falkland Islands . We learn about this from his diary:

“At four o'clock in the morning I was jolted violently by the captain, whose words frightened me no less than his vehemence: 'Get up, Sir, get up, you have had a narrow escape from being drowned in bed and we are not safe yet. ' [...] On the deck I found everything in confusion, a screaming, a shouting, a commanding without end, the roar of the storm and the sea, the rolling of the ropes and ropes on the ship, united in a deafening noise. […] I now learned that the ship was suddenly almost completely surrounded by cliffs, the proximity of which the captain had only noticed in the dark night in the terrible surf that foamed up mast-high. "

Shortly after arriving in Valparaíso, he met his painter colleagues Moritz Rugendas and Charles Darwin , who arrived there in the same month. He soon became friends with Rugendas.

In 1837 Robert Krause gave up his trade and devoted himself entirely to painting. In 1837/38 he crossed the Andes to Argentina together with Moritz Rugendas. On the onward journey from Mendoza to San Luis, Rugendas suffered severe skull injuries when he fell from a horse at night. Krause saved his life, gave up the onward journey and returned with him to Chile. He recorded this trip and the accident in his diaries. They served the Argentine writer César Aira as the starting point for his novella Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero (2000; German: Humboldts Schatten , 2003).

After further excursions, Krause embarked in Valparaíso for Mexico at the beginning of October 1839, crossed North America to Niagara Falls and returned from Boston to Hamburg in July 1840 . In August 1840 he reached Dresden with numerous studies and sketches in his luggage. From 1843 to 1845 he lived again in Paris, from 1845 to 1847 in Baden-Baden , where he met his wife. After the marriage, they both moved to Italy. There he lived in Ariccia in 1847/48 , in Rome in 1848, in Sorrento from autumn 1848 to autumn 1849 , then again in Rome (until autumn 1851).

After the death of his daughter he moved to Munich (1851 to 1853). During his summer stay in Weinheim in 1853 , his wife had a fatal accident. He then moved to Düsseldorf , where he lived from 1853 to 1859, and took care of his two sons.

Krause was a member of the artists' association Malkasten from 1856 to 1862 and from 1856 co-founder of the General German Art Cooperative. He was friends with Carl Friedrich Lessing , who portrayed him in 1858.

From 1859 he lived in Munich. From there he traveled to Italy several times. From June to November 1885 he visited his son Paul, who was a councilor in Constantinople , and met his daughter-in-law and granddaughter Angelina Krause there. Together with his son, he traveled to the Pontic Mountains near Trapezunt ( Trabzon ). After his return he succumbed to chronic liver disease in Munich in December 1885 and was buried on December 24th in the northern cemetery .

Publications (selection)

  • Robert Krause: Travesía de los Andes y el [sic!] Estada en Mendoza en el año de 1838. Diario íntimo del paisajista alemán. Traducido directamente del manuscrito alemán por AH Ed. Alberto Haas. In: Fénix. Publicación anual. Editada por la Sociedad Científica Alemana. Volume III: Buenos Aires 1923, pp. 42-62.
  • Robert Krause: De Mendoza a San Luis de la Punta. Diario íntimo del paisajista alemán. Traducido directamente del original alemán. Edited by Alberto Haas. In: Fénix. Publicación anual. Editada por la Sociedad Científica Alemana. Volume IV: Buenos Aires 1924, pp. 118-143.
  • Robert Krause: A trip to South America in the first half of the 19th century. Unprinted letters and diaries. In: Phoenix, magazine for German intellectual work in South America. Vol. 10: Buenos Aires 1924, pp. 163-195.


  • Krause, Robert. In: Friedrich von Boetticher: painter works of the 19th century. Contribution to art history. Volume 1/2, sheets 31–61: Heideck – Mayer, Louis. Ms. v. Boetticher's Verlag, Dresden 1895, p. 758 ( ). - (here wrongly December 8, 1885 as the date of death)
  • Krause, Robert . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 21 : Knip – Kruger . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1927, p. 467 . - Complete article printed by Hartmut Ring: Robert Krause. In the footsteps of the landscape painter through the 19th century. Pp. 314–315 ( )
  • Vera Leuschner: Drawings by Carl Friedrich Lessing. In the Collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Cincinnati, 1972.
  • César Aira : Humboldt's shadow. Novella. Nagel and Kimche, Munich and Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-312-00321-0 .
  • Lucile Magnin: Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero de César Aira: Le peintre voyageur dans l'Amérique latine du XIXe siècle entre littérature, art et science. Dissertation. Université Stendhal - Grenoble III, 2012.
  • Christof Metzger / Christof Trepesch: Chile and Johann Moritz Rugendas. Wernersche Verlagsgesellschaft, Worms 2007, ISBN 978-3-88462-245-2 .
  • Hartmut Ring : Robert Krause. In the footsteps of the landscape painter through the 19th century. BoD, Norderstedt 2013, ISBN 978-3-7322-3780-7 .

Web links

Commons : Robert Krause  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Single receipts

  1. Albumin print from family collection.
  2. a b Obituary notice of December 22, 1885. In: Allgemeine Zeitung . December 24, 1885, p. 5264 ( ).
  3. Krause 1924, p. 176 f. and Ring 2013, p. 7 ( ).
  4. Bettina Baumgärtel , Sabine Schroyen, Lydia Immerheiser, Sabine Teichgröb: Directory of foreign artists. Nationality, studies and stay in Düsseldorf. In: Bettina Baumgärtel (Hrsg.): The Düsseldorf School of Painting and its international impact 1819–1918. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-86568-702-9 , Volume 1, p. 434
  5. The portrait is in the Cincinnati Art Museum (Leuschner 1972, p. 31).