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Oswald Achenbach - Buy or sell works

2 February 1827, Düsseldorf (Germany) – 1 February 1905, Düsseldorf (Germany)

Oswald Achenbach is one of Germany’s most important 19th-century landscape painters and, like his older brother Andreas Achenbach, an important representative of the Düsseldorf School of painting. Their contemporaries jokingly referred to them as the 'Alpha and Omega of landscape painting'.

Oswald Achenbach was born in Düsseldorf in 1827. He followed his brother, eight years his elder, to the academy in Düsseldorf at the tender age of eight, although the earliest officially entry age was set at 12. Unsatisfied with the academic teaching, six years later Oswald Achenbach left the Academy and joined two associations: the Verein der Düsseldorfer Künstler zur gegenseitigen Unterstützung und Hilfe (association of Düsseldorf artists for their mutual support and aid) and the Malkasten. Achenbach took his first trip to Italy and to Switzerland in 1845. He spent a longer period in southern France and Italy in 1950.

Right from the start Oswald Achenbach had to stand comparison with his successful brother. To avoid competing in the art market, the brothers divided the subjects of their paintings by geography; Oswald Achenbach painted southern landscapes while Andreas Achenbach specialised in Northern European scenes.

Among Oswald Achenbach’s favourite subjects were Italian scenes, particularly Vesuvius and the area around Naples, which he often depicted at night. While his brother Andreas favoured dramatic depictions of moments in time, often painting scenes in rough waves on the high seas, Oswald Achenbach, in contrast, saw himself as a quiet observer of atmospheric situations which he captured by concentrating on colour and the effects of light and shadow.

Both Achenbach brothers were international artists and in great demand at a very young age. Their fame spread far beyond Germany. Oswald became an honorary member of the Academy in Amsterdam, awarded a prize at the Exposition Universelle of 1855 in Paris, as well as honorary memberships of the academies in St. Petersburg and Rotterdam. He was decorated by both Napoleon III and Maximilian of Mexico.

From 1863 onwards, Oswald Achenbach taught as a professor of landscape painting at the academy in Düsseldorf. He became an honourary citizen of the city of Düsseldorf in 1897, and his representative house was a meeting point for artists, scholars, officers and members of the nobility. Achenbach lived as an esteemed landscape painter in his home town until his death in 1905. His oeuvre consists of around 2000 paintings.

The art market has recently rediscovered the Achenbach brothers' works. Dorotheum sold Summer Evening in the Bay of Naples for €204,000 in 2017, a world-record price for a work by Oswald Achenbach. Dorotheum Düsseldorf regularly holds information days at the Düsseldorf Malkasten.