Remembering Our Ancestors: Johann Gerhard Büker

This week 206 years ago, our 3rd (and 4th) great-grandfather Bücker passed away.

Johann Gerhard Büker was born on 13 October 1792, in Riesenbeck, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.  His father Gerd, whose last name had been Laumann, had taken on the profession of barrel maker and in the process his last name was changed to fit his craft, first to Boddeker and later to Büker, to which over the years a ‘c’ was added to assure a short vowel sound for the ‘ü’.

The place where young Johann grew up went through a lot of political change during the first three decades of his life.  In 1803, when Johann was 11, his hometown Riesenbeck on the southern slopes of the Teutoburg Forest, which had belonged to the grand duke of Tecklenburg since 1236 and through his intervention was counted with the Prince-Bishopric of Münster since 1400, became part of Prussia.  Five years later, it became property of the Grand Duchy of Berg, and with the end of Napoleon’s time it became Prussian again.  In 1816, two years after Johann had married  Maria Katharina Hünemeyer on 25 July 1814, Riesenbeck finally became part of Tecklenburg again, and such it is to this day.

We do not know much about Johann and his wife and how many children they had, but we do know that they had one son, Bernhard Heinrich Anton (no idea by which name he would have been called!), who went on to become our 2nd (and 3rd) great-grandfather.  What we do know is that the family Büker lived in Riesenbeck for four generations, beginning with Johann’s father, before our great-grandfather moved first to the Sauerland and later to Dorsten.

Johann Büker lived all his life in Riesenbeck where he died on 26 February 1852 at the age of 59.  We assume that he was buried there as well.  Got to wonder if any of the political back-and-forth had an impact on the life of Joe-Average-barrel-maker at all.

Riesenbeck,_Sankt_Kalixtus_Kirche 2013-09-28_14.30 - Edited
Sankt Kalixtus Kirche in Riesenbeck in 2013, with a steeple from the 12th century

Featured the Riesenbecker Berg with the Schönen Aussicht (which translates Beautiful View), a platform at 116m above sea level from which one can see across the Münsterland all the way to the city of Münster, if the weather is just so.

Cultured Wednesday: Andreas Achenbach

Andreas Achenbach was probably the most influential German landscape painter of the Romantic period.

Andreas Achenbach, born September 29th, 1815, was a German landscape painter of the Romantic period.  Born in Kassel, he was arguably the most prominent member of the  Düsseldorfer Malerschule (Düsseldorf school of painting).  He preferred marine art, while his younger brother Oswald Achenbach, also a renowned painter in his time (but today largely forgotten), preferred landscapes over seascapes.  During their lifetime, the brothers were called “das A und O der Landschaftsmalerei” (the Alpha and the Omega of landscape painting).

Andreas_Achenbach-Ein_Seesturm_an_der_norwegischen_Küste
Ein Seesturm an der norwegischen Küste, 1837

Young Andreas is said to have known everything about drawing at the early age of 6, according to his first teacher.  By the age of 12, or so the story goes, he began studying at the  Königlich-Preußische Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, where said Düsseldorfer Malerschule originated.  At age 16, he had his first big success when his paintings were not only part of a renowned exhibition, but when he also sold his first painting.  It showed – guess what?  Not a seascape, but the old academy in Düsseldorf, a simple building that at the time would have been considered unworthy as a motive.  Here the painting:

Andreas_Achenbach_-_The_Academy_Courtyard_(The_Old_Academy_in_Düsseldorf
Die alte Akademie in Düsseldorf, 1831

In 1836, his fame was cemented when Prince Frederick of Prussia bought one of the seascapes he painted after a longer visit to the Netherlands and Riga, “Big Marina with Lighthouse”.

Große Marine mit Leuchtturm
Große Marine mit Leuchtturm, 1836

Later on he traveled a lot, to Scandinavia among other places, where he was quite inspired by the wild coast, as you can see in the first painting of this post, as well as further south to Italy, as the next beautiful painting shows.  Incidentally, his brother Oswald also loved to travel and was known for his Italian landscapes in particular.

Aufräumen Küste von Sizilien 1847
Aufräumen – Küste von Sizilien, 1847

Andreas Achenbach’s technique was said to be flawless, and hence he influenced a lot of painters although he taught only few.  When he died on April 1st, 1910 in Düsseldorf, the city experienced what amounted to a state funeral.  Here is another one of his seascapes, this time in calmer weather.

Küstenlandschaft mit Stadtansicht, 1875
Küstenlandschaft mit Stadtansicht, 1875

And finally, my favorite of his paintings: A watermill in Westphalia, painted in 1863.

Westfälische Wassermühle, 1863
Westfälische Wassermühle, 1863
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