The History of the Kronberg Painter’s Colony
The painter’s colony in Kronberg was one of the most earliest of the German painter’s colonies of the 19th century. Altogether 60 artists worked, over several years, in the Kronberg painter’s colony including such well known names as Wilhelm Trübner, Jakob Fürchtegott Dielmann, Hans Thoma or Carl Morgenstern. Anton Burger’s move to Kronberg in 1858 is associated today with the foundation of the Kronberg artist’s colony.
The history of this development is closely associated with the nearby City of Frankfurt, where many of the artists, who we count as part of the colony, were born. To name only a few: Anton Burger, Philipp Rumpf, Karl Theodor Reiffenstein as well as Otto Scholderer. Besides the place of birth, these artists were connected in particular, through their common studies under Jakob Becker, professor for Genre and Landscape Painting at the Städelsches Art Institute from 1842 to 1872.
Through the removal of their domestic centres to the rustic surroundings of the Taunus village the artists reacted to increasing industrialisation and technical changes in the big city culture. The rusticity served them as a projection space for a still intact and unaltered “healthy world”. The motives, often simple, once found, served as an image of a personal experience of a reality that they captured in painterly values.
From the beginning the guest house “Zum Adler” played a special role. It offered the new arrivals not only accommodation but also acted as a meeting place for the artists.
From Rustic Idyll to Noble Villa Settlement
After the end of the 19th century wealthy Frankfurt citizens discovered the small Taunus town as a health and holiday resort and built their summer villas there. After the settlement of Victoria of Prussia in 1888 the romantic seclusion and rustic peace came to an end for the resident painters. From Empress Friedrich, the widow of Emperor Friedrich III, the town’s development experienced a considerable stimulus. A society oriented artists group who, like Norbert Schrödl or Ferdinand Brütt were well off and close to the Empress, joined the “Back to Nature” movement. They turned their attention mainly to portraiture and historical painting of society’s events.
The Disintegration of the Colony
As impressionism triumphed in Germany the artist’s colony gradually disintegrated. Since the death of Anton Burger in 1905 the growth of the colony had been severely restricted and the younger generation of artists Nelson G. Kinsley, Philipp Franck and Fritz Wucherer, despite adopting impressionistic tendencies in their painting could not revive the colony.