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Dillis, Georg von

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Dillis, Georg von

    Other Names:

    • Maximillian Johann Georg von Dillis

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1759

    Date Died: 1841

    Place Born: Dorfen, Bavaria, Germany

    Place Died: Munich, Bavaria, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany


    First director of the Alte Pinakothek and advisor to Ludwig I of Bavaria. Dillis was the son Wolfgang Dillis, the Elector Maximillian’s head forester, as well as godchild of Maximilian III Joseph, Electoral Prince of Bavaria. Dillis attended the Gymnasium in Munich, paid for by the royal family. He initially studied theology in Ingolstadt, but by 1782 entered the Munich Zeichnungsakademie where he studied under Ignaz Oefele (1721-97) and Johann Jakob Dorner the elder. Dillis excelled at landscapes and took a number of important early commissions. In 1790 he was appointed supervisor of the Gemäldegalerie by Maximilian I Joseph. Dillis documented and reorganizing the state collections, which comprised the core Wittelsbach family collections as well as religious art objects from deconcecrated churches. After an initial sojourn to Prague, Dresden and Vienna in 1792 to study the art collections there, he traveled with Henry Temple, Viscount Palmerston, (1739-1802) to Salzburg in 1794 and subsequent trips to Italy, the first being 1794-5. He also journied to Rome in 1805 and Paris the following year. In 1808 he was elevated to the nobility because of his service and the same year named professor of landscape painting at the Munich Akademie. In 1822 Maximillian appointed him director Gemäldegalerie. When Ludwig I became king of Bavaria in 1825, the king was anxious to build the royal collections on a par with those of Dresden, Paris and Italy. Dillis advised Ludwig I on all art concerns and at Ludwig’s behest, the royal acquisions and buildings for them blossomed. In 1827 he purchased the magnificent collection of northern renaissance art amassed by Melchior Boisserée and Sulpiz Boisserée. The collection, which had been turned down by the governments of Cologne, Frankfurt-am-Main and Berlin, comprises among the most important work of the Cologne school Flemish schools. The Alte Pinakothek opened in 1836 under Dillis’ direction. He wrote the first catalog. Though Ludwig never acquired a painting of Dillis’, some, including portraits of Clemens Neumayr and his wife, Therese Neumayr (1809) hang today in the Neue Pinakothek.

    Selected Bibliography

    Messerer, Richard, ed. Briefwechsel zwischen Ludwig I. von Bayern und Georg von Dillis 1807-1841. Munich: Beck, 1966; Verzeichniss der Gemälde in der Königlich bayerischen Gallerie zu Schleissheim. Munich: J.G. Fleischmann, 1831.


    Saur Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon 27: 407-08; Lessing, Waldemar. “Johann Georg von Dillis.” Münchner Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst 11 no3-4 (1934-1936): 271-95; Johann Georg von Dillis, 26. Dezember 1759-28. September 1841. Munich: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, 1960; Lessing, Waldemar. Johann Georg von Dillis, als Künstler und Museumsmann, 1759-1841. Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1951; Höhn, Heinrich. Leben und Werke des Landschaftsmalers Georg von Dillis. Ph.D., dissertation, Strassburg: Heitz, 1908; Böttger, Peter. Die Alte Pinakothek in München: Architektur, Ausstattung und museales Programm. Munich: Prestel 1972.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Dillis, Georg von." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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