Franz Bunke

Franz Bunke was born on 3rd of December 1857, the son of a mill builder in Schwaan. Thanks to his open-minded parents, he was able to develop his artistic talent from an
early age.

From 1871 -1874 Franz Bunke took art classes with the portrait painter Paul Tischbein, in Rostock and, following Tischbein's death, Bunke attended a trade school. In the spring of 1878 he commenced artistic studies at the Berlin Academy but after only one term he moved to Weimar where he remained as a student of Theodor Hagen until 1884. He was then awarded the professorship for landscape painting at Weimar.

From 1892 Bunke regularly brought his students to Schwaan, along with his colleagues Paul Baum and Richard Starcke who came for the naturalistic painting. In 1910 the Duke of Sachsen-Weimar honoured Franz Bunke with the title of professor. Bunke was also appointed as an honourable member of the ?Thuringian Fine Art Academy?and also of the ?Mecklenburg Artistic Alliance?.

In 1927 Bunke was granted honorary citizenship in Schwaan and a street was named after him. To show his gratitude he presented the Town Council with one of his paintings.

As the result of his foundation of and continuing support for the art community in Schwaan as well as his ground-breaking work in open-air painting he will always remain a great figure in Schwaan's history.

On the 6th July 1939 Franz Bunke, aged 82, died in Weimar.

As can be seen from the following key points, he enjoyed great professional acclaim from an early age and achieved high recognition for his work right into his later years.

Key Excerpts in the Life of Franz Bunke:

  • As a student in 1883 two of his paintings, exhibited in the ?Glaspalace? Munich, were sold to England.

  • In 1896 he received the 200th Anniversary of the Berlin ?Royal Academy of Art?  gold medal.

  • From 1903 until 1914 he was the Weimar artists' representative for the   ?Glaspalace? Munich exhibitions.

  • Many of his works were sold to countries such as England, the USA, Denmark, Italy, Sweden and Holland.

  • His exhibition of 1914 in Vienna achieved sensational success.

  • His works can be found in collections and exhibitions in Berlin, Hannover, Weimar, Würzburg, Rostock and Schwerin.

  • His paintings show a Dutch 17th century influence with a fine development of the ?representational?, whereas his works after 1890 are dominated by a detailed view of nature.

  • Bunke was a master of reproducing ?air? and ?light? in his paintings. For Bunke, nature was not only an environment - but something requiring devotion, indeed for him it was a subject of sublime majesty. His view here links him to Otto Modersohn.

  • Franz Bunke was a great sponsor of artistic talents such as Rudolf Bartels and Peter Paul Draewing. He remained attached to his home town of Schwaan throughout his life and always returned each summer for study and painting.