Germany, 1839 - 1924 (Bernau / Karlsruhe)
The Benezit Dictionary of Artists describes Hans Thoma as " one of the most original artists in the German school of the second half of the 19th Century." A miller's son, the artist was born in Bernau in the black forest, and first studied to become a clock painter. But his artistic talents were noticed by the Grand Duke of Baden, who paid for his schooling as an artist, and Thoma eventually went on to study in Dueseldorf and later Paris, where he studied with Courbet. In Munich he became associated with the circle of Leibl and Arnold Boecklin. He is often associated with the symbolist movement, but his love of beautiful detail and the simple life of the people have also led to comparisons with the Pre-Raphaelites, who were working at the same period.
In addition to the landscapes for which he became famous, Hans Thoma executed a portrait of himself for his birthday each decade which was issued as an engraving. These striking self-portaits poignantly express the inner life of the aging artist through the years of his long life. Two examples are shown on this page.
For more information about the artist see: