Franz Stuck (February 23, 1863 –
August 30, 1928) was a German painter, sculptor, engraver, and
In 1906, Stuck was awarded the
Verdienstorden der Bayerischen Krone and was henceforth known as
Franz Ritter von Stuck.
Life and career
Born at Tettenweis near Passau, Stuck displayed an affinity for
drawing and caricature from an early age. To begin his artistic
education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for
life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.
He first became well known by
cartoons for Fliegende Blätter, and vignette designs for programmes
and book decoration. In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the
Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of
In 1892 Stuck co-founded the Munich
Secession, and also executed his first sculpture, Athlete. The next
year he won further acclaim with the critical and public success of
what is now his most famous work, the painting The Sin. Also during
1893, Stuck was awarded a gold medal for painting at the World's
Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was appointed to a royal
professorship. In 1895 he began teaching painting at the Munich
In 1897 Stuck married an American
widow, Mary Lindpainter, and began work designing his own residence
and studio, the Villa Stuck. His designs for the villa included
everything from layout to interior decorations; for his furniture
Stuck received another gold medal at the 1900 Paris World
Having attained much fame by this
time, Stuck was ennobled on December 9, 1905 and would receive
further public honours from around Europe during the remainder of
his life. He continued to be well respected among young artists as
professor at the Munich Academy, even after his artistic styles
became unfashionable. Notable students of his over the years include
Paul Klee, Hans Purrmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Alf Bayrle and Josef
He was a member of the
International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers.
Franz von Stuck died on August 30,
1928 in Munich; his funeral address memorialized him as "the last
prince of art of Munich's great days". He is buried in the Munich
Waldfriedhof next to his wife Mary.
Stuck's subject matter was primarily from mythology, inspired by the
work of Arnold Böcklin. Large forms dominate most of his paintings
and indicate his proclivities for sculpture. His seductive female
nudes are a prime example of popular Symbolist content. Stuck paid
much attention to the frames for his paintings and generally
designed them himself with such careful use of panels, gilt carving
and inscriptions that the frames must be considered as an integral
part of the overall piece.
Ritter von Stuck's Kämpfende
Amazone (fighting Amazon), created in 1897, graced Hermann Göring's
The number of Stuck's pupils who achieved great success served to
enhance the teacher's own fame. Yet by the time of his death,
Stuck's importance as an artist in his own right had almost been
forgotten: his art seemed old-fashioned and irrelevant to a
generation which had endured World War I. Stuck's reputation
languished until the late 1960s when a renewed interest in Art
Nouveau brought him to attention once more. In 1968 the Villa Stuck
was opened to the public; it is now a museum.
In Robert Waite's book The
Psychopathic God: Adolph Hitler and numerous other sources it is
noted that Franz Stuck was Hitler's favorite painter from childhood
In this connection it is worth
noting that Stuck made frequent use of the image of a woman wrapped
by a serpent, a bondage image; Hitler was well known to be attracted
to images of women in confinement. A British Intelligence report
compiled on him noted that he appeared to only enjoy circus acts if
they involved situations where a woman appeared to be in peril.
Stuck's works were never admitted
to the Great German Art Exhibit.
One of Stuck's best-known paintings
The Wild Chase depicts Wotan (Odin) on horseback leading a
procession of the dead. It was completed about 1889, the year of
Hitler's birth, and it has acquired a kind of semi-legendary status
as the face of Wotan in the painting greatly resembles Hitler's.
Stuck's paintings were mentioned by
Carl Jung, who wrote:
... Franz Stuck, whose
snake-pictures bear significant titles like "Vice," "Sin," or
"Lust". The mixture of anxiety and lust is perfectly expressed in
the sultry atmosphere of these pictures,...
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