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Franz von Stuck


Franz von Stuck’s (1863–1928) Symbolism relies heavily on mythology and allegory. Rather than landscapes, he painted scenes with ambiguous figures in them. There are similarities between the feeling in his landscapes and the mysterious imagery found in of Arnold Böcklin’s works. Rather than specific symbols, the landscape alone suffices to create a sombre and solemn mood.

The son of a peasant family from Tettenweis, Lower Bavaria, von Stuck studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) in Munich from 1878 to 1881, and then at the Munich Academy from 1881 to 1885. He initially earned his living by producing drawings for various publications and in 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glaspalast, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise (Villa Stuck, Munich). Von Stuck was one of the founders of the Munich Secession in 1892. The painting he exhibited there the following year, Sin (Neue Pinakothek, Munich) gave rise to controversy and was to become his most famous work.

In 1895 he was appointed professor at the Munich Academy, where Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Josef Albers were among his pupils. Von Stuck also contributed drawings to the artist’s magazine Pan and the art journal Jugend. In 1897 he set out to build his own residence and studio, the Villa Stuck (now a museum), in which he designed everything himself, from the layout to the interior decorations, and incorporated his own paintings, sculpture and furniture. Having attained a high degree of fame, Stuck was elevated to the aristocracy in 1905 and his funeral address memorialised him in 1928 as “the last prince of art of Munich’s great days”.