(1814 Poppelsdorf, Germany – 1899 Milwaukee, WI)
The “Father of Wisconsin Art”, Henry Vianden, was born in Poppelsdorf, Germany in 1814 and passed in Milwaukee in 1899.
At the age of fourteen he became a goldsmith’s apprentice and then attended the Dusseldorf Academy. In 1836, he began studying at the Royal Academy of Art in Munich and later continued his education in Antwerp, Belgium. By 1845, he worked in Cologne, Germany as a professional artist.
After the failed German Revolution of 1848, over 4,000 German intellectuals came to America, Vianden one of them. In 1849, he arrived on July 4th in New York and soon traveled to Wisconsin, eventually settling in Milwaukee. There, he taught at the Peter Engelmann’s German and English Academy and the Mathilde Franziska Anneke’s German, French, and English Academy. He also privately tutored some of Wisconsin’s most successful artists including Susan Frackelton, Robert Schade, Frank Enders, Carl von Marr, and Robert Koehler.
Vianden was the first professional landscape painter in Wisconsin. His work is highly detailed and often consisting of elements derived from various sketches made while studying nature. Within his landscapes, he often included trees. Known as the “oak tree” painter, Vianden related that trees were God&rsqu...