Franz von Lenbach Biography
born: 13 Dec 1836, Schrobenhausen -
died: 6 May 1904, Munchen
grave location: Munchen: Westfriedhof (left wall, 81)
Franz von Lenbach was the son of a stonemason and studied art in Munich (1854) and Rome. Lenbach was appointed professor in Weimar in 1862 and worked as a copyist from 1863 to 1868. Later Lenbach became a celebrated portraitist and an important society personality in late nineteenth century Munich.
Von Lenbach often painted from photographs and his style reminds of Titian and Rembrandt. Lenbach painted most celebrities of his time, among them Peggy Guggenheim, Richard and Cosima Wagner, Pope Leo XIII, Franz Liszt, Prinzregent Luitpold, William Gladstone, Emperor Wilhelm I, emperor Francis Joseph. Lenbach portrayed Bismarck numerous times.
Lenbach was ennobled in 1882 and a few years later his fame enabled him to build a large villa at the Kyonigsplatz in Munich.
Lenbach married Magdalena Grdfin Moltke, who was 28 years his junior, in 1888 in Breslau. In 1892 they had a daughter, Marion. A second daughter, Erika, was born in 1895. At that time the marriage was already failing and they split up in 1896. Erika stayed with her mother and Marion with her father. Soon afterwards he married his pupil Charlotte von Hornstein and in 1899 their daughter Gabriele was born. Magdalena von Moltke married Bismarck’s physician, Dr. Ernst Schwenninger.
The Lenbach Villa in Munchen is a municipal museum since 1929. In 1936 his widow bought the house in Schrobenhausen where he was born and it was turned into a Lenbachmuseum.