The legacy of the fathers. Two centuries with the artist family Zick


June 9th – September 30th

Opening: June 8th2018, 7 pm


The family Zick isn’t only known for their variety of topics and techniques, but also for their special bond to Koblenz. That’s the reason for the dedication of a special exhibition to the family, which will take place in the Mittelrhein-Museum and will simultaneously include featured themes like Trierer court art and art of the Rhineland from the 19th century.

Januarius Zick is the most popular artist  of a family whose members  dedicated their lives to art over five generations. Starting with Johann Zick (1702-1762), who created valuable frescoes in Würzburg and Bruchsal and educated his son Januarius Zick (1730-1797), who grew up to be one of the most important German artists of the 18th century. His talent and craftsmanship got passed to Januarius’ child Conrad (1773-1836), whose work marked the transition to the 19th century. His son Gustav Zick (1809-1886) went to the Düsseldorfer Academy with Wilhelm von Schadow and was already involved in their tradition of art. He became famous for his paintings of animals, but he also created landscapes. He additionally became a representative of the family tradition by restoring his grandfather’s frescoes and copying paintings. Gustav’s son Alexander (1845-1907) on the other hand proceeded to join a whole new field. Though he was instructed in historical painting at the Düsseldorfer Academy, he distinguished himself as an illustrator in Berlin.

The exhibition addresses the underlying historical structures as well as the breaches and continuities that occurred in two centuries of an active family of artists while taking the social and art-historical aspects into account. The Mittelrhein-Museum possesses creations from all of the five artists of the family and furthermore owns a part of the Zicksche-family estate, which contains documents solely about Conrad, Gustav and Alexander.

The objective of the exhibition is to spread the wide spectrum of the artistic works from family Zick across all art forms and techniques. The paintings and graphics can be shown without problems, whereas the frescoes are a lot harder to exhibit. In the 18th century Johann and Januarius created large-sized ceiling frescoes in the castles of Würzburg and Bruchsal as well as in southern German churches.

The magnificent Dianasaloon by Januarius Zick still exists to this very day in the castle of Engers near Neuwied. There were two big frescoes in the castle of Koblenz aswell, but they were destroyed in World War 2.

But to allow the exhibition visitors the full experience of the Zick-frescoes in Engers and Koblenz, the frescoes were digitally reconstructed in a so called ‘virtual reality’. The Mittelrhein-Museum cooperated with the institute of computational visualistics and the institute of science of art; operating range digital media of the University of Koblenz-Landau. Despite the destruction, visitors are now able to experience the ceiling frescoes up close with the aid of Virtual Reality headsets.

We thank all institutes that supported this project.

The Virtual Reality reconstruction was financed by the Dr. Hans Riegel-Stiftung.

The exhibition catalogue was supported by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung.

We also thank the Koblenzer Kulturstiftung, the Stiftung Zukunft of Sparkasse Koblenz, the association of friends of the Mittelrhein-Museum and the Ludwig-Museum from Koblenz for the support of our project.