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Knackfuss, Hermann Joseph Wilhelm

    Full Name: Knackfuss, Hermann Joseph Wilhelm

    Other Names:

    • Hermann Knackfuss

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 11 August 1848

    Date Died: 17 May 1915

    Place Born: Wissen Rhineland Palatinate, Germany

    Place Died: Kassel, Hesse, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany


    Author of many of the immensely popular Künstler-Monographien series of Velhagen & Klasing publisher. Knackfuß entered the Dusseldorf Academy in 1869 to study (studio) art under E. von Bendemann and E. von Gebhardt. He joined the Hussar regiment for the Franco-Prussian war making drawings of the conflict. He received a travel prize to study in Rome, 1875-1878. Upon his return he married the daughter of the sculptor H. M. Imhof. In 1880 he was called to the Dusseldorf academy to learn art anatomy. He travelled to Greece, Egypt and Asia Minor to sharpen his skills as a history painter. Beginning in 1895, Knackfuß began issuing popular brief monographs on individual artists through the Velhagen & Klasing publishing house under the series title “Künstler-monographien.” He personally wrote twelve volumes, some of which were translated into English by the Keeper of the Department of Prints and Drawings of the British Museum, Campbell Dodgson. His younger brothers were the painter Eduard Knackfuß (1855-1945) and the architectural historian and archaeologist Hubert Knackfuss. He was harshly criticized by the German academic art historian Anton Springer for his simplistic methodology.

    Selected Bibliography

    Tizian. Bielefeld/Leipzig: Velhagen & Klasing, 1897; Rembrandt. Bielefeld: Velhagen & Klasing, 1899; Van Dyck. Leipzig: Velhagen & Klasing, 1896, English, Van Dyck. Translated by Campbell Dodgson. New York : Lemcke & Buechner, 1899.


    Stern, Dorothea. “Knackfuß, Hermann.” Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. 20 Leipzig: W. Engelmann, 1927, p. 560-561; Stolz, Christa. Hermann Knackfuss: Monographie über e. im 19. Jahrhundert in Wissen geborenen Künstler. Wissen: Nising, 1975.


    "Knackfuss, Hermann Joseph Wilhelm." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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