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 Adolf Holzel  (1853 - 1934)

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Lived/Active: Germany      Known for: landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
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Adolf Hölzel (1853-1934)

Born in the Moravian town of Ohlmütz on May 13, 1853 as the son of publisher Eduard Hölzel, he was raised to participate in his father's business when he was still very young.  In 1868 he began an apprenticeship as a typesetter in Gotha and regularly took lessons in drawing and painting on the side.  From 1872 to 1873 he attended the academy of Vienna.  He then completed a one-year military service as a volunteer and it said to have considered a career as an officer after passing the officer's exam.  When he finally decided in favor of painting, though against his father's will, Hölzel went to Munich in order to continue his art studies at the local academy.

In 1888 he moved from Munich to Dachau, where he became the head of the artistic community "Neu-Dachau", the school for painters around Fritz von Uhde. In Dachau, Hölzel taught the future German Expressionist Emil Nolde for a short period of time.  In 1906, Hölzel was called to the Art Academy of Stuttgart where he held a professor's chair for painting until 1918.

While he painted in an impressionist style in his early work, during his time in Dachau, already, his work began moving toward abstraction, reflecting his interest in such principles as the golden section and Goethe's Theory of Colors.  Four years before Wassily Kandinsky, he painted an abstract painting (Composition in Red, 1905). 

Among his students, the so-called "Hölzel circle" developed, including Oskar Schlemmer, Willi Baumeister, Max Ackermann and Johannes Itten.  In 1919 Adolf Hölzel left the Stuttgart Academy and went into retirement. 

He died in Stuttgart in 1934.

Sources include:
Ketterer Kunst

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