The biography of Heinrich von Zügel (1850 - 1941)

Heinrich von Zügel (1851 – 1941) was a German who left an extensive oeuvre of drawings and paintings depicting mostly landscapes or animals. Throughout his life, Zügel’s main objects were sheep and cattle, presumably in reminiscence of his childhood as a shepherd’s son.

Zügel was born October 22, 1850 in Murrhardt. His drawing talents were discovered and encouraged in 1860s while he was still at school. This enabled the young artist to join the Stuttgart Kunstakademie in 1867 and the Munich Akademie two years later. He believed that education was not particularly beneficial to artistic development and decided, influenced by the school of Diez, to work independently.

More than 40 years the artist attended to the subject “Schwere Arbeit” (heavy burden). As an animal painter Zügel continued the traditions of Otto Gebler and Anton Braith and altered it. At the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1893 he was awarded the great gold medal for his painting “Schafwäsche” (Sheep Washing). Important museums acquired works by the young artist already during the 1880s.

Inspired by trips to Holland and Belgium Zügel began painting landscapes during the 1890s.

A short period teaching as a professor at the Akademie in Karlsruhe (1894/95) was followed by Zügel’s invitation to teach in Munich (1895-1922).

Among many other prizes he was awarded the Ritterkreuz der Bayerischen Krone, which meant personal ennoblement, in 1907. Painting incessantly, with the exception of the confusion of World War I, the artist continued working on his extensive oeuvre until the 1930s.

Heinrich von Zügel died January 30, 1941 in Munich at the age of 90.