22/05/14 Aggiornato il:

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach ~ Symbolist and Art Nouveau painter









Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913) was a German painter and social reformer.
Diefenbach is a champion of reform of life , as the pioneer of naturism and the peace movement . His commune "Himmelhof" in Ober St. Veit (1897-1899) was one of the models for the students of his Gusto Graser reform founded settlements Monte Verita in Ascona. As a painter he is an independent representative of Art Nouveau and Symbolism.
Diefenbach was a son of the painter and art teacher at the high school Hadamar Leonhard Diefenbach.









He attended the Munich Academy of Art, was inspired by Arnold Bocklin and Franz von Stuck impress. His paintings were early attention and recognition. Due to a severe typhoid disease and surgery, his right arm was crippled. Because he thought he had saved his life with natural healing methods, he walked under the influence of natural medicine practitioner Arnold Rikli and Eduard Baltzer , founder of the Vegetarian Society in Germany, the apostle of nature-friendly lifestyle. Around 1881 he resigned from the church and was a member of the independent congregation.


In cassock and sandals, he proclaimed his doctrine in Munich. His ideas (and lives in harmony with nature and rejection of monogamy , moving away from any religion, exercise in the fresh air and exercise of nudism , and a meatless diet as a vegetarian) were taken by his contemporaries as an opportunity to him as "turnip-Apostle to ridicule" and to follow. After the police had suppressed his meetings, put Diefenbach in an abandoned quarry near Höllriegelskreuth back. There was the young painter and his assistant Hugo Höppener disciples. Diefenbach called him Fidus, what was the stage name Höppeners. In joint work of the great frieze was Per aspera ad astra. An exhibition of his paintings in Vienna had a sensational success and made him famous, but he lost as a result of fraud led by the Vienna Art Society all his works. He fled to Egypt, where he drew huge temples. To win back his pictures, he went back to Vienna in 1897, planned to publish a journal Humanitas and organized a major exhibition.

A circle of friends, where the pacifist Bertha von Suttner and the publicist Michael Georg Conrad belonged, supported his businesses. During this time gathered around him on the Himmelhof in Vienna, a community of up to 20 students or disciples, including at times the painter Frantisek Kupka, Konstantinos Parthenis and Gusto Graser and the subsequent animal rights Magnus Schwantje. The standards Diefenbach docked on himself and his followers were quite diverse, he himself lived at the same time in at least two relationships with women, he demanded from his followers absolute obedience and chastity, whose post has been inspected by him personally. The artists' commune, went bankrupt, and Diefenbach moved to the island of Capri, where he gained success and fame, while he was forgotten in Germany. He died there in 1913 at the age of 62 years as a result of intestinal obstruction.
Exhibitions and Honors
After his untimely death in 1913 his estate remained hidden for half a century, and exposed to decay. Only since the 1970s caused public museum for his works on Capri and in his hometown Hadamar. Of 29 October 2009 to 31 January 2010 was in an exhibition at the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich, his work made ​​accessible again to the German public.
1927 Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach was in Wien- Hietzing named after him.




















Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (Hadamar, 21 febbraio 1851-Capri, 15 dicembre 1913) è stato un pittore e utopista tedesco.
Diefenbach fu un pioniere del nudismo e del movimento pacifista. La comune da lui fondata a Vienna, attiva tra il 1897-1899, fu uno dei modelli per l'insediamento di Monte Verità ad Ascona.
Perseguì ideali di riforma sociale professando un complesso di idee, delle quali facevano parte una condotta di vita in armonia con la natura, il rifiuto della monogamia, l'alienità a qualsiasi religione sebbene egli fosse un seguace della teosofia, la pratica di una dieta vegetariana. Quando la sua comune andò in bancarotta, si trasferì sull'isola di Capri, dove trascorse tutto il resto della sua vita.

Come pittore, fu un esponente indipendente del movimento dell'Art Nouveau e del Simbolismo. Dal 1974, Capri ha dedicato un museo alle sue opere, ospitato nella Certosa di San Giacomo.
A Capri, Diefenbach trovò nei paesaggi a picco sul mare, nei dirupi e negli scorci naturalistici la giusta ispirazione per le sue opere che esponeva nell'atelier di via Camerelle, a ridosso della Piazzetta di Capri.
"Capri - scrive Diefenbach - mi basterà per tutta la vita con queste aspre rupi che adoro, con questo mare tremendo e bellissimo benché, in verità, io soffra il martirio del boicottaggio dei miei connazionali che venendo qui muovono contro di me vergognose accuse di immoralità ed empietà".

Il pittore Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, arrivò a Capri nei primi anni del Novecento per sfuggire agli attacchi della stampa e al bigottismo borghese dell'epoca. Prima di raggiungere l'isola, all'epoca considerata uno dei luoghi ideali per gli artisti, Diefenbach raggiungere prima il Lago di Garda, la città di Il Cairo in Egitto e poi Trieste. A Capri Diefenbach trovò nei paesaggi a picco sul mare, nei dirupi e negli scorci naturalistici la giusta ispirazione per le sue opere che esponeva nell'atelier a ridosso della Piazzetta di Capri.
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach seguiva i principi della Teosofia e predicava il ritorno a una vita semplice, a contatto con la natura: i suoi capelli erano lunghi, camminava sempre a piedi scalzi e vestiva sempre con un saio bianco, anche durante i mesi più rigidi. Le opere del pittore tedesco spesso sono di notevoli dimensioni e prevedono anche l'utilizzo di materiali e tecniche inusuali per la pittura dell'epoca. Dal 1975 i quadri di Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach sono custodite nelle sale della Certosa di San Giacomo.