In the 1890s, Paul Hoecker, then a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, regularly met with his students in Holzhausen, a picturesque small village overlooking Lake Ammersee, to practice plein air painting. As one of the most progressive instructors of his time, he inspired many. In November 1899, ten of his students, all members of the “Münchener Secession”, formed an artists’ association named “Scholle” (“clod”) in the village.
Sculptor Mathias Gasteiger and his wife Anna, a painter, were the first to build a house here at the Ammersee in 1908. This building, known as “Künstlerhaus Gasteiger”, nowadays hosts a museum. In the following years, numerous members of the artists’ association “Scholle”, writers of “Simplicissimus” and “Jugend” relocated to the village. Amongst them were Eduard Thöny, Fritz and Erich Erler, Walter Georgi and Adolf Münzer. In 1911, Clara Ewald, a portrait painter, and Paul Neu, an illustrator, moved into their houses. In the early 1920s, Johanna Speckner, a highly esteemed ivory carver and her first husband, painter Otto Weil, settled in Holzhausen. After his death, Speckner lived with her second husband, American sculptor York Fischer, at Lake Ammersee until 1939.
The artsy little village had prestigious visitors. Painters, such as Olaf Gulbransson, Edward Cucuel and Leo Putz, spent several months at the Ammersee, creating some of the impressive art work they are known for. They enjoyed the hospitality of their artistic friends. The resident painters in Holzhausen were of outstanding talent. Ten received tenure at German Art Academies.
In the mid 20th century, Hans Jakob Mann, a portrait painter, Henri Jean Gabriel, an object artist, and Gerhard Graeb, professor and photography artist, settled in Holzhausen. To this date, several artists live and work in the village. In retrospect we see that at the turn of the 20th century some 50 artists formed a mutually beneficial symbiosis between the rural peasant village and the art colony. The most famous were members of the artists’ association “Scholle”. Their artistic work is significant in art history, and as such, is both discussed amongst scholars and regularly shown in regional and national exhibitions.
– Artists’ house Gasteiger © Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung, www.schloesser.bayern.de
– View of church and cemetery, © JES Kulturstiftung
– Steamer pier, Holzhausen © JES Kulturstiftung
– Anna Sophie Gasteiger, painting, View of the Ammersee from the Artists’ House Gasteiger, © Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung, Maria Scherf / Andrea Gruber, München
– Clara Ewald, Portrait, Rupert Brooke, 1911, Oil on canvas, 54.6×73.7cm, National Portrait Gallery London
– Walter Georgi, self-portrait, c. 1900, source: Wikipedia (common-use)
– Eduard Thöny, A Called One, 1902, ink opaque white opaque colours, 36 x 25.5cm, in: Simplicissimus 7 (1902), no. 1, p. 8