The New International Encyclopædia/Kobell

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KO'BELL. A German family of painters, engravers, and etchers, all descended from Johann Heinrich Kobell, of Frankfort, who settled at Mannheim in 1720. His grandson Ferdinand (1740-99) was a landscape painter and etcher, born at Mannheim, where, after having studied at the University of Heidelberg, he became the pupil of Peter Verschatfelt. In 1768-69 he continued his studies in Paris, after his return was appointed Court painter, and later professor at the Academy, and in 1793 removed to Munich. Of his effective oil paintings in the style of Berehem, there are specimens in the galleries of Karlsruhe, Darmstadt, Stuttgart, and Augsburg; but he is more important as an etcher, his 242 plates marking a distinct advance in the treatment of landscape etching in Germany. Consult his biography by Baron Stengel (Nuremberg, 1822). — His brother Franz (1749-1822), landscape and architectural painter and draughtsman, was born in Mannheim, where he studied at the Academy before spending nine years in Italy (1776-85), chiefly at Rome. On his return he settled in Munich, and was made Court painter. His oil paintings, on which Goethe bestowed high praise, are rare, numbering scarcely a dozen, one of the finest being a “Rocky Landscape with Waterfalls,” in the Bamberg Gallery. Endowed as he was with an exuberant fancy and extraordinary facility of production, the process of painting proved too slow to keep pace with his ideas, and he confined himself afterwards entirely to the use of pen and pencil. He is said to have produced more than 10,000 drawings. — Hendrik (1751-99), a marine and landscape painter, born at Rotterdam, cousin of Ferdinand and Franz, was sent to England by his father to follow a commercial career, but returned in 1770, determined to become an artist, and studied for two years in Amsterdam under Jacob de Vos and Cornelis Ploos van Amstel with such success that he was elected a member of the Academy. He settled afterwards at Rotterdam, and is especially esteemed for his marine subjects in oil, and his numerous beautiful drawings executed with the pen, heightened with India ink, and his water-colors. — Jan (1756-1833), engraver, born at Rotterdam, brother of Hendrik, engraved anatomical plates, and in 1787 a series of historical portraits. — Jan, the elder (1778-1814), an eminent animal and landscape painter and etcher, born at Delfshaven, son of Hendrik, pupil of Willem Rutgaart van der Wall at Utrecht. He studied diligently from nature, and took Paul Potter for his model. In 1812 he went to Paris, where he won the gold medal and high praise from art critics. His popularity increased rapidly until his premature death, at Amsterdam. Of his cattle pieces, remarkable for their sterling technique and precision of drawing, there are excellent specimens in the museums of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. — Jan, the younger (1800-38), landscape and cattle painter, born at Rotterdam, son of Jan, the engraver, pupil of Rotterdam Academy, painted his principal work, a life-size cattle piece, in 1830. — His sister Anna (1795-1847) was also an esteemed artist. — Wilhelm von Kobell (1766-1855), landscape and battle painter and etcher, born at Mannheim, son and pupil of Ferdinand; studied afterwards the works of the old Dutch masters in the Düsseldorf Gallery, and was especially attracted by Wouverman. In 1778 he went to Rome, was made Court painter at Mannheim after his return, and afterwards followed his father to Munich, where he became professor at the Academy in 1808. He painted at first landscape, rural genre scenes, and animal pieces, of which the galleries of Bamberg, Weimar, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Berlin, Darmstadt, Frankfort, and Wiesbaden contain fine specimens. In 1809 he visited Vienna, and in 1810 Paris, to make studies for his battle pieces, which contain many portraits of famous contemporaries. The New Pinakothek in Munich contains “The Third Day of the Battle of Hanau” (1808), and the Banquet Hall of the Königsbau the “Surrender of Brieg,” “Cavalry Skirmish at Arnhofen,” and the “Battles of Eckmühl and Wagram.” He became most widely known through his etchings and aquatint engravings after Wouverman, Berehem, Roos, Ruysdael, and others, in which he reproduced the peculiar style of each master with uncommon success.