Chodowiecki, Daniel, 1726-1801

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Daniel Niklaus Chodowiecki (16 October 1726 – 7 February 1801) was a German painter and printmaker with Huguenot and Polish ancestry, who is most famous as an etcher. He spent most of his life in Berlin, and became the director of the Berlin Academy of Art. He was born in the city of Danzig (Gdańsk) in Poland, and in a letter “in typical Berlin humor”[citation needed] wrote, “that he moved to Berlin, Germany, which shows for sure, that he is a 'genuine Pole'.” He kept close to the Huguenot scene, due to his ancestry. His grandfather Bartholomāus Chodowiecki had lived in the 16th century in Greater Poland. Gottfried Chodowiecki, Daniel's father, was a tradesman in Danzig and his mother, Henriette Ayrer born in Switzerland, was a Huguenot. Daniel's grandfather Christian had been a tradesman in the city as well. When his father died, both Daniel (aged 16) and his younger brother Gottfried Chodowiecki went to live with their uncle in Berlin, who offered to educate them, and where Daniel received an artistic training with the painter Haid in Augsburg. His brother also became a painter. He had three daughters, Jeannette (b. 1761, married the French-reformed preacher Jacques Papin), Suzanne (1763–1819) and Henriette (1770–1880). Jeannette's daughter Marianne Chodowiecka Papin (married Gretschel, 1794–1870) and her son Heinrich Papin (1786–1839) also became artists.Soon Daniel was able to earn a living by painting. He was admitted to the Berlin Academy in 1764 and became vice-director under Bernhard Rode in 1788. He had found his true calling and became the most famous German graphic artist of his time. His works includes several thousand etchings, usually rather small, and many drawings and paintings. His book illustrations embrace almost all the great classics. His prints represent in great detail the life of the bourgeoisie during the Zopfstil period, a time between Rococo and Classicism. In 1797 Chodowiecki was appointed director of the Academy of Arts in Berlin, where he died on 7 February 1801. The bulk of his work was in illustrating scientific books by Basedow, Buffon, Lavater, Pestalozzi and others. He also painted many portraits of Polish gentry and was interested in Huguenot and Polish history as well, making some paintings on the topic. He was in tune with the developing spirit of the age, and many works reflect the cult of sensibility, and then the revolutionary and German nationalist feelings of the end of the century. In printmaking, he is credited with the invention of the deliberate remarque, a small sketch on a plate, lying outside the main image. These were originally little sketches or doodles by artists, not really meant to be seen, but Chodowiecki turned them into "bonus items" for collectors. Chodowiecki, though speaking only French and German (due to his offices in the Huguenot French community in Berlin he often spoke French), many times also declared his Polish allegiance and had his son Isaac Heinrich, born in Berlin, painted as a very young child with a Polish outfit and haircut. After Partitions of Poland Chodowiecki wrote to Gräfin Solms-Laubach: "From father's side I'm Polish, a descendant of a brave nation which will soon vanish". In a letter to Józef Łęcki, the Polish astronomer, he wrote: "I consider it an honour to be a genuine Pole, even though I am now living in Germany". Because of his mother's and his wife's Huguenot descent he was very close to the Huguenots of Berlin. Nearly all his life and career was spent in Germany, writing in German and living in Berlin from the age of almost 17. One of his most popular books is "Journey from Berlin to Danzig" (German: "Die Reise von Berlin nach Danzig", 1773) with many illustrations. He purchased a horse rather than going by stage coach. This was his first return after 30 years absence and he went specifically to see his elderly mother and sisters in Danzig again. He made only one more trip to Danzig afterwards, to his mother's funeral. He describes and illustrates towns and people in Pomerania and Prussia on the way. Chodowiecki is buried at the Französischer Friedhof cemetery in Berlin.
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Catalogue des estampes gravees par Daniel Chodowiecki (annotated catalogue). Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Pillet, Claude Marie, 1771-1826. Letter, [1807]. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Chodowiecki, Daniel, 1726-1801 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Lavater collection., 1775-1816 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Chodowiecki, Daniel. Medallion Portrait of Susanne (Suzette) Chodowiecka, the Daughter of the Artist, [1770s], in: Dr. Richard A. Simms collection of prints and drawings by Käthe Kollwitz and other artists, 1770s-2007, undated. 2016.PR.34, box 33 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Chodowiecki, Daniel, 1726-1801. [Daniel Chodowiecki : artist file] Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library & Archives, DIA Research Library & Archives
referencedIn Autograph File, C Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
contributorOf Goettinger Taschen Calender vom Jahr ... Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Sammlungen Kupferstichen, Aquarellen und Handzeichnungen. [electronic resource] Philadelphia Museum of Art
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Kupferstich-Sammlung des Baumeisters Max Weyser in Dresden. [electronic resource]
referencedIn Ziegenhagen, Franz Heinrich, 1753-1806. Lehre vom richtigen Verhältniss zu den Schöpfungswerken und die durch öffentliche Einführung derselben allein zu bewürkende allgemeine Menschenbeglückung Getty Research Institute
contributorOf Sulzer, Johann Georg, 1720-1779. Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künste : in einzeln, nach alphabetischer Ordnung der Kunstwörter auf einander folgenden Artikeln abgehandelt / von Johann George Sulzer . Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Werkes von Daniel Chodowiecki. [electronic resource] Philadelphia Museum of Art
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Die höchst bedeutende nachgelassene Kupferstichsammlung eines der grössten Kunstsammler Deutschlands, erste Abtheilung. [electronic resource] Philadelphia Museum of Art
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Sammlung von Bildnissen, Bildniswerken, Kunstbüchern, Kupferstichen aller Schulen. [electronic resource] Philadelphia Museum of Art
creatorOf Chodowiecki's Werke, oder, Verzeichniss sämtlicher Kupferstiche, welche der verstorbene Herr Jacoby, D. (David), 1769- Daniel Chodowiecki, Direktor der Königl. Preuss. Academie der Künste, von 1758 bis 1800 verfertigt, und nach der Zeitfolge geordnet hat / verfasst und herausgegeben von D. Jacoby senior, Kunsthändler. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Sammlung von Kupferstichen, Kupferwerken, Kunstbüchern aus der Chr. v. Mechel- und Haas'schen Verlassenschaft zu Basel. [electronic resource] Philadelphia Museum of Art
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Catalog der von dem verstorbenen Herrn Gerichtsrath Seidel zu Danzig hinterlassenen Sammlung von Kupferstiche, Radirungen, etc. [electronic resource] Philadelphia Museum of Art
referencedIn Rudolph Weigel (Firm) Die höchst bedeutende nachgelassene Kupferstichsammlung eines der grössten Kunstsammler Deutschlands, vierte Abtheilung. [electronic resource]
contributorOf Creator: Sulzer, Johann Georg, 1720-1779. Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Kun̈ste in einzeln : nach alphabetischer Ordnung der Kunstwörter auf einander folgenden, Artikeln abgehandelt / von Johann George Sulzer, Mitgleid der Königlichen Academie der Wissenschaften in Berlin [et]c. Getty Research Institute
contributorOf Lavater, Johann Caspar, 1741-1801. Physiognomische Fragmente, zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntniss und Menschenliebe / von Johann Caspar Lavater ; erster[-vierter] Versuch, mit vielen Kupfern. Getty Research Institute
Relation Name
associatedWith Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library & Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg. Bibliothek. corporateBody
associatedWith Lavater, Johann Caspar, 1741-1801 person
associatedWith Los Angeles county museum of art corporateBody
associatedWith Pillet, Claude Marie, 1771-1826. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Berlin 16 DE
Graphic artists


Birth 1726-10-16

Death 1801-02-07






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Ark ID: w64q8kc9

SNAC ID: 64318211