Wilhelm Frey (painter)

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Wilhelm Friedrich Frey (born June 24, 1826 in Karlsruhe , † February 4, 1911 in Mannheim ) was a German animal and landscape painter from the Munich School , professor (1906), director of the Grand Ducal Picture Gallery in Mannheim (1895).

Live and act

Wilhelm Frey: Dairwoman in front of her hut with returning sheep and goats with an approaching thunderstorm , 1872

Frey attended Karl Koopmann's drawing and painting class during his final years of high school and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich from 1845 to 1852 , where he joined Heinrich Heinlein . In high mountain landscapes he often painted animal and human scenery. He also owed valuable suggestions to Robert Eberle and Friedrich Voltz . In 1852 he began to train as a singer and from 1855 to 1869 he worked at the theaters in Sibiu, Mannheim, Schwerin, Berlin, Breslau and Meiningen without giving up painting during this time. At the end of 1869 he settled with his wife, a sister of the Berlin painter Charles Hoguet , at Lake Achensee and studied folk and animal life as well as the landscape of the Bavarian Alps.

From 1870 onwards he regularly sent exhibitions to Munich and Berlin. In 1874 he went to the lower Weser ( Vegesack ) for the first time , in 1882 to Holland ( Katwijk ), in 1885 and 1886 in the Swiss and Tyrolean high mountains, in 1887 he visited the Baltic Sea coast, in 1891 and 1892 Norderney and in 1894 the Isar and Inn valleys . In 1895 Frey became director of the Grand Ducal Picture Gallery in Mannheim, where he was appointed professor in 1906. From Mannheim, Frey conquered the Middle Rhine landscape and also created numerous works from the Lake Constance region. The peculiar silvery air moods of the Lake Constance pictures lured Frey back to the Lower Elbe, to which he had also established personal relationships through his second marriage (1879 to Sofie Block) in Bremen and Liliental near Worpswede . In 1895, 1901 and 1903 he stayed there for several months each, while the other years were spread over the Middle Rhine, Lake Constance, Switzerland and the High Alps.

Frey was primarily an animal and landscape painter, but portraits and genre-like figure paintings are also included in his work. In his early days (Vieh im Bergland, 1867) he soon switched to broad and confident brushwork and tonal colors. With the 1890s and the inclusion of the north German coastal areas in his work, he began to work out the air and color problems that enabled the elderly artist to catch up with the young. A broad lecture, strong local colors, lightening of the colors down to silvery and an often dramatic play of clouds characterize these years. A special field at this time is the representation of all kinds of hunting dogs. Pictures of Lake Constance, motifs from the Middle Rhine and the Worpswede landscape are preferred areas to which he joins the high mountain nature of Switzerland and Tyrol at the end of his life. Many of his works (represented with pictures in the museums in Karlsruhe, Mainz, Mannheim and Rostock) are photographed and reproduced in Art for All 1889, 1890, 1891, 1894 and in Seemanns Meister der Farbe VIII (1911) booklet 96.


  • General lexicon of visual artists. From antiquity to the present. With the participation of around 400 specialists from home and abroad. Edited by Ulrich Thieme . Twelfth volume.
  • Stefan Ernsting. The fantastic rebel Alexander Moritz Frey or Hitler shoots dramatically in the air.

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Commons : Wilhelm Frey  - Collection of images, videos and audio files