The shop is open but please read this first before placing an order!

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach German Painter, Symbolist and Naturalist

Posted by Justin Meyers on

ocean art karl diefenbach artist

Karl Diefenbach German Painter, Naturalist, and Symbolist

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (Born 1875) was a renowned German painter and radical social reformer. Early on Diefenbach attended the Munich Academy of Art and was deeply inspired by the works of fellow symbolist and Swiss painter Arnold Bocklin. Notice Diefenbach's darkly beautiful homage to Böcklin's famous "Isle of the Dead" including the additions of Egyptian motifs and pillars. His large scale oil paintings often depict symbolist landscapes that burst with shadow and light. The Artist's country commune Himmelhof, in Ober Sankt Veit (Outside of Vienna, Austria) centered on a return to nature, rejection of religion, and the end of monogamy. His alternative lifestyle and Mystical ideologies during this time often aroused suspicion in his native Germany but also interest in his Artwork. Diefenbach was a natural medicine practitioner living a nature-centered existence including a mainly vegetarian diet, an oddity at this time in Europe. His lifestyle rejected many traditional social norms of the age including organized religion which among other issues forced him for a time to flee to Egypt. During this relocation, Diefenbach's work focused on the ancient ruins and temples of that land. The Artist spent his later years on the Italian Island of Capri painting the beautiful yet rocky coastlines in vivid contrast. 

Diefenbach in Capri 1914

Karl Diefenbach in Capri, 1914

As a painter, Diefenbach is an independent representative of Art Nouveau and Symbolism. Diefenbach's life was as storied as his work and both paint a dramatic and truly original picture of a master Artist.

Isle of the Dead Print work on Dark Art & Craft

diefenbach island of the dead

Based on Isle of the Dead German: Die Toteninsel the best-known painting of Swiss Symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin.

You can find more on Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach at and at

Coats line german artist

Image via {{PD-US}} 

coast line of light karl diefenbach painting

Paintings on the Island of Capri at the Museo Diefenbach. Image via

karl diefenbach artist

Sea-nymphs in Grotta Minerva

The fairy dance

The fairy dance 1885 {{PD-US}} 

sphinx with girl

Sphinx with Undine by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, 1902 {{PD-US}}

Question to the Stars by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, 1901.


Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, The Colossi of Memnon in a Sandstorm

sphinx in sandstorm oil painting karl diefenbach

"Sphinx" Image via The author died in 1913, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or fewer.

Isle of the Dead Print work on Dark Art & Craft

Justin Meyers

@ Dark Art & Craft, print collector and Artist from Cleveland.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Related Posts

Henrik Uldalen’s Dream States
Henrik Uldalen’s Dream States
Dream States Self-taught Norwegian Artist Henrik Uldalen’s works are studies in contrast and medium. His thick oil pa...
Read More
Natalia Smirnova Dark Spirits
Natalia Smirnova Dark Spirits
Natalia Smirnova creates dark spirits, angels, renaissance landscapes, and apparitions with simple watercolor and tem...
Read More
Olivier de Sagazan's Dark Creations
Olivier de Sagazan's Dark Creations
Transfiguration Olivier de Sagazan is a contemporary French painter, sculptor, and performance Artist. His long-runni...
Read More