(1858 - 1915)
Richard Lorenz was active/lived in Wisconsin / Germany. Richard Lorenz is known for panoramic frontier-horse genre painting.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Born on a farm in Voigstaedt, Weimar, Germany, Richard Lorenz became a
painter and illustrator of dramatic western scenes, especially of the
Plains Indian culture and the consequences of encounters with the white
man's civilization. His most famous pupil was Frank Tenney
Johnson. He was also well known for panoramic* painting and for
depictions of horses, genre and landscapes.
Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, IV
As a young person
in Germany, Lorenz determined to become a Biblical painter because he
was fascinated by the subject of wandering, nomadic people in
wilderness areas. He grew up in a village twenty-eight miles
north of Weimar, and at age 15, began art study in Weimar including at
the Royal Academy of Arts, where his work was recognized with several
distinguished prizes. One of those prizes was endowed by composer
Franz Liszt, and another was the Karl Alexander Prize, which he won
twice. It was the school's highest award. One of his most
influential teachers was Heinrich Albert Brendel (1827-1895), famous
European painter of animals, especially horses. Other teachers
were landscapist Theodor Hagen (1842-1919) and portraitist Max Thedy
In May 1886, Lorenz arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
where he established his career and lived for most of the remainder of
his life. He has been described by an art historian of that city
as "the most gifted German immigrant artist to settle in Milwaukee."
(Merrill 66). Lorenz initially emigrated to Milwaukee at the
request of William Wehner who had formed the American Panorama Company*
and then recruited German painters noted for their skills with
religious and historical subjects. The resulting panoramas were huge
lengthy canvases, some of them 25 X 350 feet. Lorenz worked on The Battle of Atlanta,
which became the company's most famous work. Lorenz specialized
in horses, depicting them in every kind of activity and perspective.
1887 to 1890, he travelled and sketched in the West including Oregon,
Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and California. In 1887, he worked with
August Lohr to install a panorama in San Francisco. While there he
sketched scenes of Chinatown and Monterey. On this extensive
trip, he went to the Crow Reservation, and from this experience, did
his first Indian subjects inspired by stories he heard of the Sioux
Massacre at Little Big Horn.
He returned to Milwaukee in
December 1888 to replace Otto Von Ernst as Director of the Wisconsin
School of Design, the new name for the old Milwaukee Art School. When
Von Ernst returned from a one-year leave of absence, Lorenz stayed on
as Assistant Director until the school closed in 1891. Later he taught
at the Wisconsin School of Art maintained by the Milwaukee Art Students
League, and in 1894, he established his own school, the Lorenz Art
During his teaching career, Lorenz continued his own
fine-art painting. He frequently traveled West and was especially
fascinated by storms of the Great Plains. He also did much regional
painting around Wisconsin, where his trademark subject matter was
panoramic landscape with unique lighting and a sense of an
ever-expanding country. Milwaukee collectors found his work
appealing, and it was widely exhibited. He also exhibited outside
of Milwaukee including Munich in 1891, Paris Salon* in 1901, Chicago
World's Fair in 1893*, the St. Louis Exposition of 1904*, and regularly
at the Art Institute of Chicago* and in exhibitions sponsored by the
Western Society of Artists*.
On August 3, 1915, Lorenz died in
Milwaukee from a stroke suffered while walking near his home. His
health had been declining and he suffered near blindness from
cataracts. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Milwaukee.
his lifetime, he was often compared to western painter Frederic
Remington because he was an important recorder of western subjects for
future generations. Although the reputation of Lorenz has not been as
great as that of Remington, he made significant contributions through
his own canvases and joint-project panoramas in enlightening Easterners
of scenes of the American West.
Peter Merrill, German-American Artists in Early Milwaukee
Peggy and Harold Samuels, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
Born: Voigtstaedt, Weimar, Germany 1858
Died: Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1915
Important European trained Western painter, illustrator, teacher
Lorenz began the study of art in Weimer at 15. He was the pupil of Brendel, Thedy and Hagen from 1874 to 1886, winning the Carl Alexander prize at Weimer in 1884 and exhibiting in Berlin and Munich. Lorenz immigrated to Milwaukee in 1886. He worked with William Wehner painting panoramas, specializing in horses.
In 1887, Lorenz quit Milwaukee to travel in the West. It is said that he became a Texas ranger during the "lawless" days of the frontier, getting an understanding of cowpunchers and "bad men."
Lorenz returned to Milwaukee about 1890, teaching at the new School of Art and painting Western subjects from his sketches. Frank Tenney Johnson as Lorenz's most famous pupil credited him with the influence toward Western subjects. Lorenz visited Montana about 1898. His Last Glow of a Passing Nation was Custer's Last Stand from the viewpoint of the Sioux Indians. A Lorenz retrospective was held at the Milwaukee Art Center in 1966. It included 103 works, more than half Western.
SAMUELS' Encyclopedia of ARTISTS of THE AMERICAN WEST,
Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing
Addendum from Gene Meier in communication to askART:
Lorenz was NOT a Texas Ranger. I checked this out years ago. Texas Rangers were COPS. Why would artist Richard Lorenz, born in Germany, educated in German academies, foot-loose artist, want to be a COP?
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