Willy Stöwer

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Willy Stöwer
Willy Stower.png
Stöwer in 1913
Born22 May 1864
Died31 May 1931(1931-05-31) (aged 67)
Nationality German
Known for Naval art, Imperial German period
Commercial art
Notable work
Der Untergang der „Titanic‟
Spouse(s)Henrietta Dettmann
Patron(s) Kaiser Wilhelm II
Willy Stower signature.jpg

Willy Stöwer (22 May 1864 – 31 May 1931) [1] was a German artist, illustrator and author during the Imperial Period. He is best known for nautical paintings and lithographs. Many of his works depict historical maritime events such as the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912.

Germans citizens or native-born people of Germany; or people of descent to the ethnic and ethnolinguistic group associated with the German language

Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.

An illustrator is an artist who specializes in enhancing writing or elucidating concepts by providing a visual representation that corresponds to the content of the associated text or idea. The illustration may be intended to clarify complicated concepts or objects that are difficult to describe textually, which is the reason illustrations are often found in children's books.

German Empire empire in Central Europe between 1871–1918

The German Empire, also known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.



Willy Stöwer, the son of a sea captain, was born in Wolgast, Germany on the Baltic coast. He originally trained as a metalworker and worked as a technician in the engineering offices of various German shipyards. He soon received commissions as a draftsman, illustrator and painter. His talent was recognized early and his painting technique was self-taught. In 1892 he married Henrietta Dettmann from a wealthy family, and this allowed him to devote himself exclusively to his work as an artist. [2]

Wolgast Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

For people with the surname, see Wolgast (surname).

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Baltic Sea A sea in Northern Europe bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands

The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.

Stower's Tegel villa Villa Stoewer.JPG
Stöwer's Tegel villa

Kaiser Wilhelm II became an enthusiastic supporter and patron of the artist and Stöwer was said to be the Kaiser's favorite naval painter. [3] Stöwer even accompanied the Emperor on several voyages between 1905 and 1912. He was a board member of the German Navy League (German : Deutscher Flottenverein) and was awarded an honorary professorship in 1907. The course of his life then followed that of his patron and the fate of the Imperial German Navy. As with contemporaries such as Hans Bohrdt, his greatest creative period came to an end with the abdication of the Kaiser and the passing of the Imperial era. His later career, being without Imperial favor, relied on a few commissions from steamship lines. He died in relative obscurity at his Berlin-Tegel villa [lower-alpha 1] on 31 May 1931, nine days after his 67th birthday. [2] Stöwer is interred in Cemetery III of the Jerusalem and New Churches in Berlin, where the grave remains preserved. [5]

Navy League (Germany)

The Navy League or Fleet Association in Imperial Germany was an interest group formed on April 30, 1898 on initiative of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz through the German Imperial Naval Office (Reichsmarineamt) which he headed (1897–1916) to support the expansion of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine). Specifically it was intended to develop popular pressure on the German parliament (Reichstag) to approve the Fleet Acts of 1898 and 1900, and the attendant expenses.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Honorary titles in academia may be conferred on persons in recognition of contributions by a non-employee or by an employee beyond regular duties. This practice primarily exists in the UK and some universities and colleges in the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and Canada.


Der Untergang der ,,Titanic"
Illustration for ,,Die Gartenlaube", 1912 Stower Titanic.jpg
Der Untergang der „Titanic‟
Illustration for „ Die Gartenlaube ‟, 1912

Stöwer was a very prolific artist between 1892 and 1929, creating approximately 900 black-and-white and 335 color illustrations for 57 books, as well as posters, postcards, trading-cards, labels, brochures and calendars. [6] An early example of his Commercial art is a series of trading cards from 1899~1900 which he made for the German chocolate producer Stollwerck entitled The New German Warships in Scrapbook No. 3, Series 132. [7]

Commercial art art created for commercial purposes

Commercial art is the art of creative services, referring to art created for commercial purposes, primarily advertising. Commercial art uses a variety of platforms for viewers with the intent of promoting sale and interest of products, services, and ideas. It relies on the iconic image to enhance recall and favorable recognition for a product or service. An example of a product could be a magazine ad promoting a new soda through complimentary colors, a catchy message, and appealing illustrative features. Another example could be promoting the prevention of global warming by encouraging people to walk or ride a bike instead of driving in an eye catching poster. It communicates something specific to an audience.


Stollwerck GmbH is a German chocolate manufacturer. It was founded in 1839 and expanded internationally in Europe and America, becoming the second largest producer of chocolate in the United States by 1900. Since 2011 it has belonged to Belgian firm Baronie Group.

Stower in his studio, 1903 Willy Stower (BerlLeben 1903-06).jpg
Stöwer in his studio, 1903

Stöwer's representation of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the magazine Die Gartenlaube earned him a special popularity. He created the illustration shortly after the disaster in 1912 without detailed information, in particular, the fourth funnel did not eject black smoke as it was only for ventilation. However, the image became iconic despite minor errors and has been reprinted numerous times even to the present day. Stöwer, not known for portraiture, also painted a portrait of the Kaiser in a naval uniform, which along with some of his naval paintings, hang in the Kaiser's Room [8] at Achilleion, the Kaiser's summer palace from 1907 to 1914 [9] (currently a museum) [10] on the Island of Corfu.

RMS <i>Titanic</i> British transatlantic passenger liner, launched and foundered in 1912

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it one of modern history's deadliest commercial marine disasters during peacetime. RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, chief naval architect of the shipyard at the time, died in the disaster.

<i>Die Gartenlaube</i> German magazine

Die Gartenlaube – Illustriertes Familienblatt was the first successful mass-circulation German newspaper and a forerunner of all modern magazines. It was founded by publisher Ernst Keil and editor Ferdinand Stolle in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony in 1853. Their objective was to reach and enlighten the whole family, especially in the German middle classes, with a mixture of current events, essays on the natural sciences, biographical sketches, short stories, poetry, and full-page illustrations.

Achilleion (Corfu) palace in Greece

Achilleion is a palace built in Gastouri on the Island of Corfu for Empress of Austria, Elisabeth of Bavaria, also known as Sisi, after a suggestion by Austrian Consul Alexander von Warsberg. Elisabeth was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria during the Mayerling Incident in 1889, and a year later she had this summer palace built in the region of Gastouri (Γαστούρι), about ten kilometres to the south of the city of Corfu in Achilleio. Achilleion's location provides a panoramic view of Corfu city to the north, and across the whole southern part of the island.

Other examples of Stöwer's work currently in museums include oil on canvas: Sinking of the Italian destroyer "Turbine" by Austrian destroyers on 24 May 1915. [11] at the Military History Museum, Vienna, [12] and: Speedboat ahead! at International Maritime Museum of Hamburg. [13] In 1917, postcards were produced from some of his paintings for charitable aid to benefit wounded U-boat crew members and families of the deceased during World War I. [6]

Oil painting process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil

Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the binder. Commonly used drying oils include linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. The choice of oil imparts a range of properties to the oil paint, such as the amount of yellowing or drying time. Certain differences, depending on the oil, are also visible in the sheen of the paints. An artist might use several different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular consistency depending on the medium. The oil may be boiled with a resin, such as pine resin or frankincense, to create a varnish prized for its body and gloss.

Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg transport museum in Hamburg , Germany

The Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg is a private museum in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg, Germany. The museum houses Peter Tamm's collection of model ships, construction plans, uniforms, and maritime art, amounting to over 40,000 items and more than one million photographs. It opened in a former warehouse in 2008.

U-boat German submarine of the First or Second World War

U-boat is an anglicised version of the German word U-Boot[ˈuːboːt](listen), a shortening of Unterseeboot, literally "underseaboat." While the German term refers to any submarine, the English one refers specifically to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in the First and Second World Wars. Although at times they were efficient fleet weapons against enemy naval warships, they were most effectively used in an economic warfare role and enforcing a naval blockade against enemy shipping. The primary targets of the U-boat campaigns in both wars were the merchant convoys bringing supplies from Canada and other parts of the British Empire, and from the United States to the United Kingdom and to the Soviet Union and the Allied territories in the Mediterranean. German submarines also destroyed Brazilian merchant ships during World War II, causing Brazil to declare war on the Axis powers in 1944.

Published works

In addition to his works in the visual arts, he wrote, published or edited several German books, and is credited as co-author on many more. Books by Willy Stöwer include:

Biography (monograph) by Jörg M. Hormann: Marine Painter of the Empire, Willy Stöwer [21]

See also


  1. 1 2 The Stöwer Villa at 68 Gabrielenstraße is listed as a Berlin cultural monument [4]
  2. According to folk tradition, water collected by a maiden on Easter morning before the sun's rays touch it has special properties [14]
  3. Willy Stöwer (1929), Zur see mit Pinsel und Palette , Braunschweig [etc.]: G. Westermann, OCLC 4360549
  4. Stöwer, Prof. Willy (1916). Deutsche U-Boot-Taten, in Bild und Wort. München / Berlin: F. Bruckmann / Reichsmarinestiftung.
  5. Wislicenus, Admiralitastrat Georg; Stöwer, Prof. Willy (1912). Kaiser Wilhelm II. Und die Marine. Berlin: August Scherl. pp. 207.
  6. Stöwer, Willy (1905). Der Deutsche Segelsport. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus. [19] OCLC 39156819
  7. Stöwer, Willy (1901). Marine ABC. Leipzig: Spamer. OCLC 248341146
  8. Stöwer, Willy (1900). Deutsche Flottenmanöver: Nach Aquarellen u. Studien. Braunschweig: Westermann.
  9. Stöwer, Willy (1898). Deutschlands Kriegsflotte: Mit Benutzung amtlichen Materials nach original Aquarellen. Berlin: Kutzner & Berger.

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  1. "Willy Stower". AskART. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  2. 1 2 Hormann, Jörg-Michael (2001). Willy Stöwer. Marinemaler der Kaiserzeit. Leben und Werk (in German). Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft. ISBN   3-78220-822-6.
  3. Rüger, Jan (2007). The Great Naval Game: Britain and Germany in the Age of Empire. Cambridge University Press. p. 207. ISBN   978 0 521 87576 9.
  4. "Liste, Karte, Datenbank / Landesdenkmalamt Berlin". www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de (in German). No. 09011991.
  5. "Wurzburg, Bayern: Hauptfriedhof". Androom. Berlin: Kirchhof Jerusalem und Neue Kirche III. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  6. 1 2 Petrulis, Alan. "Willy Stower 1864-1931". S - ARTISTS. Metropolitan Postcard Club. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  7. Image from German Wikimedia Commons: (1900) Sammelalbum Nr. 3, Gruppe Nr. 132; Gebr. Stollwerck Stammhaus: Köln am Rhein.
  8. Μena, Μary. "KAISER'S ROOM" . Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  9. Greek National Tourist Organisation information window at the Achilleion Grounds (image on Wikimedia Commons)
  10. "Achilleion (description)" . Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  11. Seegefecht. Versenkung des italienischen Zerstörers "Turbine" durch österreichische Zerstörer am 24. Mai 1915. Öl auf Leinwand, 50×75 cm.
  12. "Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, Wien".
  13. Schnellboot vor! (1913); Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg
  14. "Osterwasser- The Legend of Easter Water". German Girl in America. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  15. Willy Stöwer (1929), Zur see mit Pinsel und Palette, Braunschweig [etc.]: G. Westermann, OCLC   4360549
  16. Stöwer, Prof. Willy (1916). Deutsche U-Boot-Taten, in Bild und Wort. München / Berlin: F. Bruckmann / Reichsmarinestiftung.
  17. "Prints & Photographs Online Catalog / Record". Library of Congress. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  18. "6 IMPERIAL GERMAN NAVY KRIEGSMARINE BOOKS w/ STÃ-WER". WorthPoint. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  19. "Digital Library: Der deutsche Segelsport". Hathi Trust. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  20. "Kurzbeschreibung". amazon.de. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  21. Jörg M. Hormann (2001), Marinemaler der Kaiserzeit, Willy Stöwer, Hamburg: Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, ISBN   3782208226