Portrait of the father of Wilhelm, Edmund at the age of 4, 
painted by Egidius in 1819, verre eglomisé priv. coll. Dalfsen 2017
Portrait of the father of Wilhelm, Edmund at the age of 4, painted by Egidius in 1819, verre eglomisé priv. coll. Dalfsen 2017
Wilhelm and his mother, Catharina - Painted by Egidius in 1841, priv. coll. Dalfsen 2017
Wilhelm and his mother, Catharina - Painted by Egidius in 1841, priv. coll. Dalfsen 2017
Wilhelm in 1866. Den Haag, municipal archives NMI, archief Mengelbergstichting, fotoalbum.s.n.
Wilhelm in 1866. Den Haag, municipal archives NMI, archief Mengelbergstichting, fotoalbum.s.n.
Helena and her eldest children, Otto, Helena, Willem and baby Joseph, The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, archives Mengelbergstichting, s.n.
Helena and her eldest children, Otto, Helena, Willem and baby Joseph, The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, archives Mengelbergstichting, s.n.
Father of Helena, dr. Schrattenholz, The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, photo in article 'Wilhelm Schrattenholz ein vergessener Schriftsteller..' by E. Bartsch-Schrattenholz, in 'Heimatblätter des Siegkreises....' Heft 27-28, jan-april 1932, pp. 25-45
Father of Helena, dr. Schrattenholz, The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, photo in article 'Wilhelm Schrattenholz ein vergessener Schriftsteller..' by E. Bartsch-Schrattenholz, in 'Heimatblätter des Siegkreises....' Heft 27-28, jan-april 1932, pp. 25-45
Lisette Risse (1796-1879), wife of Egidius, priv.coll.Dalfsen 2017
Lisette Risse (1796-1879), wife of Egidius, priv.coll.Dalfsen 2017
Self-portrait of Egidius in oil painting, The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, the archives of the Mengelbergstichting, s.n.
Self-portrait of Egidius in oil painting, The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, the archives of the Mengelbergstichting, s.n.
Portrait of Pierre Cuypers in '16e Jaarverslag van den katholieken kunstkring "de Violier"', P. Cuypers, 'Mengelberg en Cuypers, pp. 7-8, 1918
Portrait of Pierre Cuypers in '16e Jaarverslag van den katholieken kunstkring "de Violier"', P. Cuypers, 'Mengelberg en Cuypers, pp. 7-8, 1918
Museum Schnütgen, portable altar with portrait of Alexander Schnütgen, painted by Otto Mengelberg (1867) at his 60 birthday.
Museum Schnütgen, portable altar with portrait of Alexander Schnütgen, painted by Otto Mengelberg (1867) at his 60 birthday.
Friedrich von Schmidt, photo Vienna, date unknown. wikipedia
Friedrich von Schmidt, photo Vienna, date unknown. wikipedia
Sculpture of Götting on  the chapel of the  municipal of Aix-la-Chapelle,
Sculpture of Götting on the chapel of the municipal of Aix-la-Chapelle,
maliebaan-80-4-bew-150x150.jpg
maliebaan-80-2-bew.jpg

Friedrich Wilhelm Mengelberg

 

THE 'ALTMEISTER' AND PATER FAMILIAS

Wilhelm Mengelberg (1837-1919) was born in a Protestant family. His parents were Edmund (1814-1884) and Catharina Leininger (1811-1874). Wilhelm married Helena Schrattenholz (1845-1930) in 1866. They were blessed with sixteen children of whom thirteen survived infancy.

An important figure in life and upbringing of Wilhelm was his grandfather Egidius Mengelberg (1779-1849). Egidius, trained at the 'Düsseldorfer Malerschule' became a well-known portrait painter and prominent interior decorator. He was married to the Protestant Lisetta Risse (1796-1879); this marriage was the reason why he converted to Protestantism in 1816 and brought up his children in this faith.

As director and professor of the ‘Mengelbergsche Sonntagschule für Bauleute’ (from 1822 on) he played a decisive role in the professional upbringing of his grandson from an early age on. In Cologne, he belonged to the very influential network of Ferdinand Franz Wallraf and Abraham Schaaffhausen. This circle was certainly of great importance to the later success of Wilhelm.
Besides the grandfather, an uncle of Wilhelm and son of Egidius, Otto (1817-1891) also choose for an artistic career as a history painter in the tradition of the ‘Düsseldorfer Malerschule’. He stayed a Protestant all his life and was not so successful in obtaining commissions.

Read more about: Otto Mengelberg (1817-1890)

Otto was the younger brother of Edmund and he chose a career as a painter. He stayed a Protestant all his life but had had some commissions of the Catholic church nonetheless. At the Düsseldorfer and Münchener Art academies, his professors formed him thoroughly in the ‘Nazerene’ way of history painting. He specialised in this genre as in lithography and glass painting. He was also a poet. In Düsseldorf, he was one of the founders, together with Joseph Fay of the still existing ‘der Malerkasten’.

Otto Mengelberg (1817), the archangel Michael in the S. Aposteln in Cologne

He married Wilhelmine Zülch (1817-1873) and lived in Düsseldorf from 1848 till his passing away. During his years in Cologne, he painted the monumental painting of the archangel Michäel in the S. Aposteln and collaborated with the restoration of the glass paintings in the S.Kunibert. In both these churches, Wilhelm and his younger brother Otto had important commissions.
He was a confirmed Protestant who spoke about religious art on conferences. In this field, Otto was responsible for the erection of the ‘evangelisch-kirchlichen Verein’. He painted a portrait of Melanchthon and was very popular by Scandinavian art students, whom he taught.

Read more about: The Mengelbergsche Sonntagschule für Bauleute

In 1822 Egidius founded his school. There is a scholar who writes of a school in Cologne earlier in his life, but no sources could be found. Mengelberg invited people for the opening with the following words: ‘Zu der feierlichen Eröffnung der unter dem Schutze der Hohen Königlichen Landesbehörde eingerichteten Elementarzeichnungs-Schule für Bauleute… welche nächsten Sonntag den 17e November Morgens um 9 Uhr im hiesigen Jesuitengebäude statt haben wird, ladet, Euer Hochwohlgeboren unterthänigst ein, Cölln den 15 Nber 1822, Gehorsamster Mengelberg’.

For more dan 25 years Professor Mengelberg trained young building masters, carpenters and masons at his school, financed by private investors and the municipality. The coöperation counted 36 members and four honorary members. It was the first school of this kind in the city and the predecessor of the current ‘Fachhochschule’. The number of students was sufficient, even high. In 1834 there were 80, three years later 196, in 1838 206 students. A team of 9 teachers educated the young craftsmen for free.

we The great architect Friedrich (von) Schmidt (1825-1891) who took over the lead of the school from Egidius in 1850 trained young Mengelberg, although he had left the school already. This building master was one of the key-figures who introduced the neo-Gothic style in architecture in Cologne and build an impressive career. Not only the contact of Wilhelm with Von Schmidt was important, but also the relationship with Vincenz Statz (1819-1898) was of great value. For sure, they met during the first commissions of Wilhelm in Euskirchen in the S. Martinus. One can read in the sources that he took the high altar home for restoration.
Although educated as an architect, Wilhelm became a sculptor and a very successful one. About his training in this craft we don’t know for sure, but perhaps Christoph Stephan (1797-1864) was a tutor for him and trained him in the ‘Bauhütte’ of the Cologne cathedral. The idea lives among scholars that Wilhelm was foremost a self-taught sculptor, guided by a few prominent and highly educated churchmen such as Franz Bock (1823-1899), Alexander Schnütgen (1843-1918), Matthias Goebbels (1836-1911) and the brother of Bishop Johann Baudri, Friedrich (1808-1874). All these men belonged to the inner circle of the ultramontanist archbishop Johannes von Geissel (1796-1845-1864).

Read more about: Friedrich (von) Schmidt (1825-1891), director of the Mengelbersche Sonntagschule für Bauleute and Vincenz Statz (1819-1898)

 

Friedrich von Schmidt, honoured by the church for his work

After the death of Egidius, Friedrich von Schmidt took over the management of the school. This arrival was the reason why Wilhelm returned to this school, which he had left already. But it should be noted that at the time Wilhelm was only nearly 13 years old, so very young to part school, although it was a ‘weekend- school’. We know Wilhelm followed a primary school of evangelical signature, but we have no knowledge about his further education yet.

Friedrich von Schmidt (1825-1891) was the only architect who got an epitaph in a church, namely in his last church of the Holy Heart in Cologne completed after his death. 

He was raised in an evangelical family of a vicar and converted to Catholicism during his stay as an architect of the cathedral in Milan and professor at the Academy of architecture there. The same time as Wilhelm converted to this faith. He got the title ‘Freiherr von’ in 1886 as a reward for his achievements in Vienna as building master of the cathedral and city- architect (the town hall and renovation of the cathedral) and a professorship in medieval architecture at the Vienna Academy for architecture. He started beside in 1865 his private school for building masters. The municipality gave him in 1883 the honorary citizenship of the town.

He was one of the ‘Dommeister’ of the cathedral in Cologne and brother in law of Christian Mohr (1823-1888) the well-known sculptor. He was educated at the ‘Polytechnikum’ in Stuttgart in the years 1840-1843 and studied the gothic style in Schwaben. Twelve years later he graduated at the ‘Berliner Bauakademie’.

In Cologne, he worked on statues of the south-portal of the Dom, of the town hall and Wallraf-Richartz Museum. He also designed interior pieces for the S. Aposteln, the construction of the organ and the altar for S. Joseph in Groß St. Martin in Cologne.

As Schmidt was the first architect who officially worked in the neo-Gothic style and a director of an outstanding school in this field, he had, without a doubt, a significant influence on Wilhelm. He wrote about this himself, and Merlo, a contemporary writer, indicates that this neo-Gothic ‘refresher course’ was the reason to return to the school of his deceased grandfather. Schnütgen states that Wilhelm followed training as an architect (not as a sculptor) in this period.

Wilhelm wrote about his education: ‘Da auch schon damals alle Staatsexamen bei der Antike begannen, waren die Lehranstalten verpflichtet, die Antike entsprechend in den Lehrplan zu integrieren. Und auch in der Elementar-Zeichenschule wurde nach diesem Prinzip verfahren. Der Meister (Egidius Mengelberg) sagte später, dass er von und durch die Antike für sein späteres Kunstleben viel profitiert habe. Geleitet durch die edlen und durch Jahrtausende geklärten Schönheiten der Verhältnisse übertrug er diese unwillkürlich seinen Arbeiten. [….] Mit dem Eintritt des Dombauwerkmeisters Schmidt begann die Gothik ihren Einzug in unsere Schule zu halten. Mit welcher Begeisterung und Liebe ich derselben entgegen trat, brauche ich nicht zu sagen. Der Dom und die Kölner Kirchen waren mir zu sehr ans Herz gewachsen, als dass die Antike diese herrlichen Bilder hätte verdrängen können.’ And in ´Kurzer Ueberblick: ‘…….die Unterweisungen in der Architekturklasse des Dombauwerkmeisters Friedr. Von Schmidt, zumeist das bis in die Knabenzeit zurückreichende Interesse für die Denkmäler meiner Vaterstadt, welche mir schon sehr früh den Skizzierstift und die übrigen Werkzeuge in die Finger drückte, haben meiner Ausbildung die Wege gewiesen, so dass ich kein anderes Ziel kannte, als in dieser Richtung und in diesem Rahmen weiter zu arbeiten, unaufhörlich vorwärts strebend.’

Of this training as a sculptor, no information survived, but it could be possible he had had a short time of apprenticeship at the ‘Bauhütte' of the Cologne cathedral. At that time guided by ‘Dombaumeister' Ernst Friedrich Zwirner (1802-1861) and his successor Richard Voigtel (1829-1902). Under the direction of Zwirner, Vincenz Statz ( 1819-1898) and Franz Schmitz (1832-1894) worked as ‘Domwerkmeister’. Friedrich von Schmidt assisted some time Statz. The known sculptor Christoph Stephan (1797-1864) worked at the dome and lived in the same street as the Mengelberg-family. But Wilhelm didn't mention him in his memoirs or similar documents, and that indicates there was no form of official teaching what so ever. In his memoirs, Schnütgen mentioned Stephan as a teacher for more young sculptors, but one can have doubts about this statement in the context of a self-glorifying and that of his fellow men and suppose he has mixed up the names of the artists. 

Vincenz Statz, a neo-Gothic architect of the first period

Statz was a pupil of Schinkel and worked together in the 'Bauhütte' in Cologne with Zwirner, the building master of the Apollinaris church in Remagen. The earliest example of a Schinkelesk church in neo-Gothic style. Statz had f.e. built the Marienvotivkirche in Aix-la-Chapelle, known as his masterpiece in parish churches and the cathedral in Linz, an example for the construction of modern cathedrals. In Kevelaer the church for the pilgrims and the Votivkirche in Wien were built by him. In Aix-la-Chapelle Mengelberg worked together with Johann Lange (1823-1908) on the interior decoration. Mengelberg collaborated with Lange in Bonn, Gellicum and Zwolle. Lange painted the Way of the Holy Cross. 

Vincenz Statz, 'Und fertig wird er doch', watercolour with the image of the completed dome, 1861. Fon.Corboud, Walraf Richartzmuseum Z1704

 

Statz was not only an architect; he wrote together with Georg Gottlob Ungewitter (1820-1864) the 'Gothisches Musterbuch... mit einer Einleitung von A. Reichensperger' in 1856. Without a doubt, this book appeared in the library of Wilhelm. The cooperation with the politician and jurist August Reichensperger (1808-1895) indicates the importance of his network of ultramontanist Catholics in the Rhineland. Reichensperger was a leading figure together with Ludwig Windthorst, Herman von Mallinckrodt and his own brother Peter. He was fervent for the completion of the Dom in Cologne and one of the initiators of the 'Zentral Dombauverein'. The founding of the Zentrumspartei was not possible without his efforts.

The objects Mengelberg provided for churches of Statz are multiple and indicate a good relationship until the end. The influence of a typical church of Statz in the first design of a church of Wilhelm, made in the commission of Van Heukelum, is evident.

Art historical research also shows that his development as a sculptor started rather timely in his career and was not very impressive at the beginning at all, compared to other sculptors like his rival Gottfried Götting (1840-1879) in Aix-la- Chapelle. The guidance of his patrons Franz Joseph Bock (1823-1899), Alexander Schnütgen (1843-1918) and Gerard van Heukelum (1834-1910), was more of help to him. Matthias Goebbels (1836-1911) guided the Mengelberg-brothers now and then, as was the case in Mönchengladbach and perhaps Aix-la-Chapelle.

Read more about: Franz Joseph Bock (1823-1899)

Franz Joseph Bock, nicknamed ‘Scherenbock’: first and most important mentor of Wilhelm

A prominent position in the education and training of the young artist was without a doubt, Franz Bock. Wilhelm came to know Bock in 1857 and wrote about this event: ‘Vom Jahre 1857 bis zu meiner Übersiedlung nach Utrecht in Holland, wohin mich das Vertrauen und der Wunsch des hochseligen Herrn Erzbischofs von Utrecht, Monsignore Dr. Schaepman, rief, war Herr Kanonikus Dr. Frz. Bock in Aachen mir ein guter Ratgeber.’

detail of the throne for Aix-la-Chapelle by Mengelberg in the commission of Bock

This priest was the vicar at S. Alban in Cologne, a church nearly completely decorated by Mengelberg and destroyed in World War 2. This church belonged to the parish of the Mengelbergs. Bock devoted his life to Christian art and built up a collection. He became the curator at the archepiscopal museum in Cologne and commissioned by Mengelberg the furniture for his office. In 1862 Bock became canon in Aix-la-Chapelle and introduced Wilhelm in this circle. On his advice, Mengelberg moved with his wife to Burtscheid, after delivering the seat for the bishop for the newly decorated choir of the cathedral. He completed his throne with other furniture for the priests and assistants. Bock wrote enthusiastically about these works of craftsmanship and neogothic styling. Although the guidance of Bock was robust, the commission for the decoration of the exterior of the cathedral was granted to someone else, Götting. Perhaps his fame as a clergyman from the ‘enemy’ Cologne did work against him, the qualities of the sculptor Mengelberg were not impressive enough, or he asked too much money.  Nevertheless, after some commissions in Aix-la-Chapelle and surroundings, he moved to Utrecht with an introduction of Bock, where he produced the church furniture for the cathedral in Utrecht in the same way he did in Aix-la-Chapelle.

Statues on the outside of the Dom in Aix-la-Chappelle made by Götting, p.e. S.Peter

 

The nickname of Bock, 'Scherenbock' ('Scheren' means scissors) was not without importance: he collected plenty of textiles and cut parts of them, found mostly in the Orient and Near East during his excursions in service of the church and showed the patterns to his colleagues as examples for decorations in the neo-Gothic style. A multiple of specimens can be found in the works of the Mengelberg-studios of this type, mostly 'Coptic' of origin, like the 'bookmark' of this site. In the gatherings of the Bernulphus-guild these textiles were showed and discussed. 

Scholars stress that Wilhelm needed a very period before coming to be a sculptor. His years in Burtscheid are his learning time under the guidance of Bock, who visited the atelier nearly every day to inspect what the sculptor had made and to provide him with ‘good’ examples of 14 and 15th-century artworks to copy.

Read More About: Alexander Schnütgen (1843-1918): colligite fragmenta, ni pereant

In 1873 Wilhelm met Alexander Schnütgen as we can learn from his biography. In that time Schnütgen was the vicar at the Cologne cathedral. In 1866 he was ordained as a priest in the ‘Minoritenkirche’ in the same city. He was a student in theology in Münster, Tübingen and Louvain and followed the seminars in Mainz and Cologne. In 1875 he joined the board of the archepiscopal museum in Cologne and became twelve years later a canon of the cathedral. In 1903 he obtained the honorary professorship of Bonn and received some honorary doctorates in Münster and Louvain. He was also director of the ‘Verein für christliche Kunst’ in Cologne in the years 1891-1896 and 1900-1906.

Alexander Schnütgen, oil painting by Leopold Graf von Kalkreuth, 1910, Schnütgenmuseum

As the publisher of the influential magazine ‘Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst’, he frequently wrote about the artworks of his protégé Wilhelm, his brother Edmund and his son Otto and invited Wilhelm to contribute with relevant articles. The network of Schnütgen in Cologne, Paderborn and Trier was of the utmost importance for the flowering of the Mengelbergstudio’s. That there was a friendship between Alexander and Wilhelm is clear and can be seen in the fact that Wilhelm designed the 'ex libris' of his patron.

'Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst' titlepage 1888, n.1 design Alexius Kleinertz

 

ex libris Alexander Schnütgen, designed by Wilhelm Mengelberg in Westermann- Angermann, A.,  Alexander Schnütgen. Colligite fragementa ne pereant. Gedenkschrift des Kölner Schnütgen-Museums zum 150. Geburtstag seines Gründers, Keulen: Stadt Köln, 1993, s.p.

After founding his first studio in 1857 at his parent's house and executing his first commissions, he moved to Burtscheid, near Aix-la-Chapelle in 1865 on the advice of Bock and lived in the Kapittelstraße, nearby the firm Stahlhut, builder of organs, of whom Wilhelm got several commissions.
Perhaps the idea of obtaining the command of the redecoration of the exterior of the Dom was tempting for him. But he didn’t receive this commission, as Gottfried Götting (1840-1879) surpassed him. During the few years in Aix-la-Chapelle, he developed himself as a sculptor, decorator and foremost as a talented manager and brilliant networker. His brother Otto stayed in command over the studio in Cologne, and they worked together in the Rhineland and Utrecht.

From the beginning of his career, the ten years senior architect and interior-decorator Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921), born in Roermond, was of importance. Pierre may have known Wilhelm all his life; they first met during the works for the interior of the S. Katharina in Kohlscheid. After that, they encountered each other frequently during competitions and commissions. Mengelberg had a monopoly in the archdiocese Utrecht, due to the preference of Tepe as an architect and the protection of Van Heukelum; Cuypers, on the contrary, was very popular in the dioceses Haarlem and Limburg.

In 1869 Wilhelm moved with his young family, two children were already born at the time, to Utrecht where he founded a studio at the Maliebaan, after a short time of living at 't Hoogt 10 where his third son Willem was born. This son became the famous musician and conductor, of whom we nearly all know the name 'Mengelberg'.
The compound of the houses (80 - 84) and a workshop was designed by Alfred Tepe (1840-1920) after an example of Von Schmidt in Cologne (destroyed in World War 2). (Learn more about the history of this building in the thesis of P. Raat in the Utrechts Archief, PK:DK2010-75)Wilhelm and Alfred worked together over more than three decades on the realisation of the neo-Gothic churches in the Rhineland. In most cases with two other artists from the ‘Utrecht school of neo-Gothicism’, the goldsmith's father and son Brom (Gerard Bartel, 1831-1882, and Jan Hendrik, 1860-1915) and Heinrich Geuer (1841-1904), a glass painter.
These members of the ‘Utrechter quartet’ were brethren of the Guild of St. Bernulphus. A guild, modelled after the ‘Gilde de St. Luc et St. Thomas’ in Belgium.  This Belgian guild had the 'Ecclesiological Society' in England as an example. Their goal was to re -Christianise Northern-Europe and reinforcing the church by using a particular historistic style, such as neo-Gothicism.

Read more about: Heinrich Geuer (1841-1904), 'der Glasmaler muß sein eigener Zeichner sein

Heinrich Geuer, source wikipedia

Geuer was born in Cologne and Van Heukelum invited him to come to Utrecht in 1871, so a couple of years after Wilhelm. With Geuer the brothers Sodenkamp, also glass painters, left Germany for the Netherlands. Hein de Vos en Bart van der Leck became well known Dutch artists, who started in the workshop of Geuer, in which in the high days more than 30 people worked. In 1905 son Frits continued the workshop for three years. Geuer was trained a lithograph in the studio of Weber en Deckers in Cologne. After his training, he worked in the atelier of Friedrich Baudri (1808-1874), the brother of the bishop Johann Baudri, one of the key figures in the revival of Catholicism in the Rhineland and the neo-Gothic style. Geuer also got commissions of the atelier of Heinrich Oidtmann (1833-1890) in Linnich. He was an outstanding designer and drawer. The person of Friedrich Baudri is in this circle important because Wilhelm designed his oldest glass paintings for him. Baudri was not only a glass painter but also, and perhaps more a networker and politician. He was one of the erectors of the ‘Verein für christliche Kunst’ in Cologne and a member of the Reichstag in Berlin.

Geuer founded his first workshop in de Zonsteeg and moved later to the Herenstraat. He was also a portrait painter, and one appreciated these paintings because of their finesse and sensitivity. Examples are the portraits of the pastors of the Willibrordus church in Utrecht and of the Elevation of the H. Cross church in Raalte.

He had an interest in history and used his knowledge for his designs. Another important source of inspiration was the collection religious prints of the ‘Verein zur Verbreitung religiöse Bilder’ in Düsseldorf for which the artist Joseph Kohlschein (1841-1915) designed more than sixty prints.

In his private life, Geuer married in 1874 with Josephina Stein and got eight children. He seemed to be a little homesick because he founded a company called ‘the shellfishclub’, a department of the ‘Utrechtse Kunstkring’, where they imitated the Cologne habit of eating Shellfish in a merry company.

During the years Geuer did not choose the best ingredients for his paintings, such as glass paint from Belgium for his grisailles. Due to this waste of money a great deal of his work, esp. the outlines, faded away and decreased the (artistic) value of the paintings.

Read more about: Alfred Tepe (1840-1920), a hardworking and modest architect

Alfred Tepe, source wikipedia

Tepe was born in the former house of P.C. Hooft in Amsterdam on the Keizersgracht. His father was a merchant in textiles. His parents had a house in Rijsenburg, where he lived in his younger years and later again. He got his official training at the Akademie für Baukunst in Berlin but specialised inofficially in the architecture of the Middle Ages. The publications of Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) were his guides. Statz was his supervisor in Cologne, and in 1866 he moved to Utrecht to construct the S. Willibrordus church. The church of S.Nicholaas in Jutphaas, built under the strict supervision of Van Heukelum and in a close bond with Wilhelm Mengelberg, became his first, well known and much-appreciated building. He worked in an old-fashioned way and had no interest in modern techniques and materials. He concentrated on the brick as a building material and tried to design the church and the surrounding buildings as a whole, as was the case in Houten. One praised him for his integrity and energy: he built seventy churches in the period 1871-1905, with the years 1872-1882, under archbishop Schaepman, as his most productive time. Tepe also designed mansions, cloisters, orphanages and schools. In 1906 Tepe moved to Düsseldorf where he got more and more commissions for churches in the Rhineland. He started building in another material and a somewhat different style, so the interior decoration of Mengelberg was not adequate anymore.

Read more about: Gerard Bartel (1831-1882) and Jan Hendrik (1831-1882) Brom, Dutch gold- and silversmiths with ambition

 

Gerard Bartel Brom source wikiwand

In 1851 Gerard Brom moved from Amersfoort to Utrecht where he managed a workshop in silver- and goldsmith’s trade at the Springweg. This atelier became part of the ‘Koninklijke Van Kempen & Begeer’ and in 2008 of the ‘Royal Delft Group’. In 1882 his son Jan Hendrik took over the lead and moved the studio to the Drift in 1898. Jan Hendrik Brom was a networker and manager like Wilhelm. He joined the board of the Bernulphusguild, ‘Kunstliefde’ and ‘de Violier’.

Jan Hendrik Brom, source wikiwand

His work was appreciated, and he got the knighthood in the order of St. Gregory. His two sons Jan Eloy (1891-1954) and Leo (1896-1965) took over the business after his premature death at the age of 55. His teachers were, besides his father, Wilhelm, Edmund and younger Otto. The relation between Wilhelm and Jan Hendrik was not very good at all. Besides ‘jalousie de metier’ there were also personal difficulties. Perhaps his advancement to modernism was a reason. The relationship with Otto seemed to be very good, until the end. There are private letters in the correspondence of Wilhelm and Jan Hendrik which are a source of this information. The concurrence for the high altar in 1893 in the St. Vitus in Hilversum was a dramatic overturn in the relationship. Jan Hendrik advocated himself as a sculptor.

After a prosperous decade under archbishop Andreas Schaepman (1815-1868-1882), who advocated the new style and ordered churches in his diocese and in that of Haarlem, the commissions lowered, and Mengelberg started to work in the Rhineland, his homeland. His command for the doors of the North portal of the Cologne Cathedral was a success, and after this, he received several commissions in Germany, not in the least caused by the fact he was German by birth and stayed a German. His brother Otto assisted him till he died in 1891 and hereafter, Edmund took over the lead of the studio in Cologne and worked together with Wilhelm. He moved the atelier in 1897 to Brühl.
Wilhelm Mengelberg was a key member of the Guild of St. Bernulphus together with the clergymen Gerard van Heukelum (1834-1910), Herman Schaepman (1844-1903) and Andreas Janssen. His friends and colleagues called him ‘vadertje Mengelberg’ and ‘Altmeister’ until the end of his life.

Read more about: Herman Schaepman (1844-1903); the theorist of the S. Bernulphus Guild

Herman Schaepman, wikipedia

 

A nephew of the future archbishop of Utrecht, Andreas Ignatius (1815-1882) promoted very young in Rome in theology. From that time on, Herman Schaepman became ‘Dr. Schaepman’. He played a role in the start of the St. Bernulphus Guild in Utrecht when not the most decisive, as theoretician, gifted writer and eloquent speaker from and on the ideas of ultramontane Catholicism. In fact, all the texts and official documents are from his hand. He also wrote the ‘Gildelied’ and provided in serious and cosier moments for the members at their gatherings. The relationship with Van Heukelum was not very smooth, on the contrary, it seems there have been serious problems. Perhaps due to the hegemony of Tepe and Mengelberg in the commissions for church architecture and decoration in the Archdiocese of Utrecht to the detriment of Pierre Cuypers (1827-1921) , the famous architect of the 19th century.

Pierre and Herman were close friends, and after the definitive break with the Guild, Schaepman concentrated his activities in Amsterdam. Dr Schaepman started as a fervent ultramontanist but seemed to moderate his ideas at the end of his life. It should be noted that this was not because he altered his opinions, but because the role of the pope as the highest and infallible power was definitively accepted. He even called himself a soulmate of Sebastian Brunner (1814-1893), the anti- Jozefinist (against the Catholic church as a state church) and anti-Semitic prelate in Vienna, editor of the conservative ‘Kirchenzeitung’. Dr Schaepman developed the political doctrine of a Roman-catholic party and was the first clergyman to enter the government. As a poet, he gained immortality for a long period with his song on Pope Pius IX.  

In the relationships of Herman and Pierre, Joseph Alberdingk Thijm (1820-1889) played a prominent role. He introduced 'Pugianism' in the Netherlands, the interpretation of the neo-Gothic style by Augustus Welby Northon Pugin (1812-1852). This Englishman had an enormous network in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany. He designed the 'medieval department' on the World exhibition in London (see illustration page 'First Generation').

Title page of 'Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume', detail, 1842

Read more about:Gerard van Heukelum (1834-1910) president of the Guild of S. Bernulphus

Gerard van Heukelum c. 1860 photo MADOC, 1994, Museum Catharijneconvent Utrecht

Gerard was the youngest son of a manufacturer of bricks in the surroundings of Nijmegen. During his formation at the pre-seminar of Hageveld, he became acquainted with the writings of Joseph Alberdingk Thijm (1820-1889) a prominent Catholic writer, publisher and poet, and brother in law of Pierre Cuypers. Comparable with Reichensperger, but not politically active. He founded the ‘Dietsche Warande’ and the ‘Volks-Almanak voor Nederlandsche Katholieken’. In the following period on the seminar of Rijsenburg, he met Andreas Ignatius Schaepman (1815-1882), the director and later archbishop of Utrecht and became an enthusiastic adherent of the ultramontanist conviction of the prelate and his preference for the neo-Gothic art and architecture. In 1859 Van Heukelum travelled to Germany, where he met Bock and Reichensperger. The goal of his journey was amongst other things to commission a chalice for all the students of this year as a gift for their director. After this experience, he got interested again in art and architecture of the Middle Ages, and with this knowledge, he was an attractive candidate for the renovation of the church of S. Catherine, the 'new' late- Gothic cathedral. In the context of this activity Mengelberg, together with some of his German colleagues as professor Hugo Schneider (1841-1925), was invited to show designs for a church building and furniture. Wilhelm was capable of getting along with the difficult Van Heukelum, and together they initiated a guild, after the example of the ‘Gilde de St. Thomas and Lucas’ in Belgium, the ‘St. Bernulphusgilde’.  Ths Belgian guild was a copy of the 'Ecclesiological Society' in England. Till the day they both died, Van Heukelum in 1910 and Mengelberg in 1919, they were active for this Guild and where it stood for: the re-Christianisation of the Netherlands in general and the instruction of the clergy about the exact style in Catholic churches, the neo-Gothic style, in particular.

Gerard van Heukelum, source Huyegensinstituut KNAW ING resources

The Guild had a peer group, known as ‘The Utrechter Quartet’. To this group belonged the sculptor Wilhelm Mengelberg, father Wilhelm and son Otto, the goldsmith Brom, father and sons, the architect Tepe and the glass painter Geuer. They worked intensively together in different projects, as the presentation at the World exhibition in Amsterdam, the large publication for Pope Leo XIII about the history and status quo of the Catholics in the Netherlands after 1853, ‘Neerlandia catholica’. Various churches, esp. in the Archdiocese of Utrecht, of which the Nicolaas church in Jutphaas is the most striking example, were built and decorated by them. Besides these four artists, the organ builder Michael Maarschalkerweerd and the forger Albert Kniep were side-members of this group.

Maliebaan 80-84; 'Verleen heer dezen huize vrede, dat nimmer 't kwade er binnen trede'

The large Mengelberg-family lived in the prestigious Maliebaan in Utrecht. The palace of the archbishop was nearby, only a few hundred yards away. The complex exists of three buildings. On no. 80 there was room enough for the family and their servants. The workshops were located in the other compartments. Three in total: one for mural paintings and drawing, one for sculpting and one for glass painting. Alfred Tepe designed the building together with Wilhelm; the brother of Alfred, Leo was a neighbour. The first neogothic private house in Cologne at the Landsbergstraße 16 was the example for Mengelberg.  Friedrich von Schmidt built it in 1847-49. It was said that Reichensperger was jealous of this neogothic mansion but lacked the money to construct a similar edifice. The exterior was decorated with an impressive statue of a  ‘Hausmadonna’: a standing, crowned Mary with the child Jezus on her arm. The whole building was devastated during the war, but this statue survived miraculously. It has been installed on the front wall of the new complex and can be admired nowadays in full glory. And what it shows? It is one of the prototypes for the standing Madonna with the child produced by the Mengelberg-workshops. Not only the exterior was reproduced with the remarkable window bay: the interior, consisting of a library, study, sitting room and living for the lady of the house and enough space to exhibit the art-collection of Wilhelm Mengelberg was provided for.

Wilhelm was also a collector of artworks, an editor of the ‘Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst’, the ‘Gildeboek’ and the ‘Verslagen van het Sint Bernulphusgilde’. He designed illustrations on several occasions, tapestries for churches and remembrance coins. In this, he was assisted by his son Otto, who was very gifted in this field. Wilhelm also spoke at official gatherings of the Guild about art history in general and his collection in particular. About this art-collection, a separate page is in preparation. Hereby I want to direct attention to the research of Roland Gieles, Annemarie van Santen and René van Gruting in this context.

In Germany, cardinal Anton Fischer (1840-1902-1912) favourited the objects from the Mengelberg-studios. This prelate was even in these early modern times an advocate of neo-Gothicism. Until his death, Mengelberg seems to have had greater commissions in Germany than in the Netherlands.

As was stated in the introduction Wilhelm had the lead over two studio’s all his life. The ‘headquarters’ were in Utrecht were Wilhelm lived, and the studio’s in Germany were smaller and more equipped for the carpentry works and profane furniture for churches as confessionals, knee-banks, furniture for the sacristy and panelling. The studio in Utrecht had three departments for which a son and a brother of Mengelberg, Otto and Edmund were responsible. Talented and capable artists, sculptors and painters, like Nicolaas Poland (1831-1882) and Hubert Ludwig Jungbluth (1825-1929), assisted the family members. They occasionally hired colleagues to help him with the commissions, such as Martinus Christiaan Schenk (1860-1915).
Otto jr. separated in the last decade of the 19th century from his father and went his way as a glass-painter in his private studio in Rijsenburg. This break must have caused Wilhelm a lot of sorrow and anger, as we can read in his letters and other personal correspondence. But after some years his eldest son returned.

Wilhelm was very consistent in the application of the neo-Gothic style: even till a couple of years before his death, he used this style for his outlines, even in a time when historistic styles had become hopelessly old-fashioned. For this, he was both honoured and derided. At the height of his career he was honoured with the ‘Roter Adler Orden’ of the Prussian government for the doors in the Cologne cathedral, the ‘St. Gregory’ medal of the pope for his prizewinning statue of Mary and Jesus (now in the St. Marienkirche in Bonn) and the royal knighthood of Orange in the Netherlands.
His remembrance card is very illustrative of his fame and shows his 'chef d'oeuvre' in the Cologne Cathedral. The second remembrance card shows Christ carrying his cross, also a station of the Holy Cross.
Although the church provided mostly for his commissions, he produced in his workshops also profane designs and objects. His first commission was the furniture for Franz Bock in Cologne. But these commissions were far outnumbered by the religious works in his lifetime and that of his sons and grandson. The amount of work they produced in this field was enormous and can be compared with the output of a fabric.

Read more about: Wilhelm as a family-man: the pater familias

 

As not a very healthy young man, he couldn’t follow his father in the enterprise because of his lung disease; he reached never the less a very respectable age. Only in his very last days he got problems with his memory and had a form of dementia. He had illnesses during the whole of his life and was very careful and disciplined in his behaviour. He bathed every morning in cold water, drank fresh goat’s milk and liked a glass of good Rhine wine. A far relative by marriage, Mrs Baurichter describes Wilhelm as a very accurate and a real gentleman. Always conscious of his appearance, polite in his behaviour and handling men of the cloth, politicians, artists and artisans of every kind. He cultivated his outlook as a ‘Rembrandtesk’ artist, and everyone knew him only by appearance.
To fulfil all his commissions he had to travel a lot by train and communicate by telegraph, telephone and letter. He had his assistants, like his brothers Otto and Edmund, and later his son Otto. What exactly the role of his son Joseph (1874-1940) was, is not very clear. He seemed to have been a kind of public relations manager, but his poor mental health frustrated him a lot and he did not play a role of importance in the workshops. He ended his live in a mental hospital. The lively correspondence with his son Willem (1871-1851) is very fatherly, intimate and full of help. Together with Helena, he supported this gifted son. The health of Willem was perhaps the reason for this excessive concern. Helena did not subject to Wilhelm in this matter, but she acted like this to all her children.

Wilhelm Mengelberg by Hugo Schneider, his friend and colleague from Aix-la-Chapelle, priv.coll.

The German Catholic upbringing and the education of his grandfather made him a prototype of an ultramontanist gentleman as was described by Jan Demaeyer in his biography of ‘Arthur Verhaegen, de Rode Baron, 1847-1917’, Leuven 1994. This character was full of commitment to his family and wife, sober and devout, a collector of religious artworks and devotional books and known for a grand hospitality. The interior of his house was in neo-Gothic style, and the practising of music played a role of prominence. A lot of time and money was spent on charity directed by the Catholic church and membership of brotherhoods and guilds. As a manager, he played the role of a father and was a fervent advocate of corporatism. The training of a student in a guild, like in medieval times, was brought into practice and was favoured above a schooling at an academy or other official institution. The hierarchy was evident, and the responsibility for the objects lay in the hands of the director. Signatures were not allowed, only in rare individual cases. Besides providing work, the master of a workshop of this kind was also responsible for the cultural education of his employees. A choir was composed of members of his household and workshop and directed by young Willem. Concerts were given every year before Christmas and Easter, and these performances were very popular and bespoken in the magazines. They drew a lot of attention and focused on the talent of Willem. 

Wilhelm Mengelberg, source wikiwand

Another characteristic of an ultramontane gentleman was his very massive devotion to the pope and Mary. The role of the crucified son of God was immense in his experience of life and religion. His eldest son Otto inherited this somewhat bleak and suffering personality. Of course the burden of responsibility for his own great family, for the family his brother Otto, his son Otto (blessed with ten children) and those of his employees in periods of severe economic crises and downfalls is unimaginable high in our perception and of our standards. The Ultramontanes lived a life in the name of the Cross, in words, image and emotion, like soldiers.

Wilhelm Mengelberg in his coffin, source Museum Catharijneconvent Utrecht

Wilhelm Mengelberg ca. 1895 - priv.coll. Utrecht 2016
Wilhelm Mengelberg ca. 1895 - priv.coll. Utrecht 2016
Helena Mengelberg-Schrattenholz in her apartment Maliebaan 80, c.1930. The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, album s.n.
Helena Mengelberg-Schrattenholz in her apartment Maliebaan 80, c.1930. The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, album s.n.
Newly engaged, Helena and Wilhelm, 1866. The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, Mengelbergstichting, s.n.
Newly engaged, Helena and Wilhelm, 1866. The Hague, municipal archives, NMI, Mengelbergstichting, s.n.
Egidius Mengelberg, portrait of the Wassenberg-family, 1834, Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, website

-------------------- D: --------------------
Egidius Mengelberg, Familienbild

Mengelberg, Egidius
1770-1849.
"Familienbild", 1834.
Oel auf Leinwand, 104,5 x 91 cm.
Duesseldorf, Kunstmuseum.
Egidius Mengelberg, portrait of the Wassenberg-family, 1834, Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, website -------------------- D: -------------------- Egidius Mengelberg, Familienbild Mengelberg, Egidius 1770-1849. "Familienbild", 1834. Oel auf Leinwand, 104,5 x 91 cm. Duesseldorf, Kunstmuseum.
Schnütgen and cardinal Fischer in a procession in Cologne, coll. J. Schnütgen, Westermann- Angermann, A.,  Alexander Schnütgen. Colligite fragementa ne pereant. Gedenkschrift des Kölner Schnütgen-Museums zum 150. Geburtstag seines Gründers, Keulen: Stadt Köln, 1993, p.289
Schnütgen and cardinal Fischer in a procession in Cologne, coll. J. Schnütgen, Westermann- Angermann, A., Alexander Schnütgen. Colligite fragementa ne pereant. Gedenkschrift des Kölner Schnütgen-Museums zum 150. Geburtstag seines Gründers, Keulen: Stadt Köln, 1993, p.289
Heinrich Geuer, coll. Rodrigo Geuer Castel
Heinrich Geuer, coll. Rodrigo Geuer Castel
Portrait of Vincenz Statz, https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Vincenz_Statz; at the end of his life.
Portrait of Vincenz Statz, https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Vincenz_Statz; at the end of his life.
Statue of the Madonna with child, by Statz, Aix-la-Chapelle, Marienvotivkirche
Statue of the Madonna with child, by Statz, Aix-la-Chapelle, Marienvotivkirche
Sculptures of Götting at the entrance of the treasury in Aix-la-Chapelle
Sculptures of Götting at the entrance of the treasury in Aix-la-Chapelle
Haus Erben, the first private home in neo-gothic style by Friedrich von Schmidt, 1847-49
Haus Erben, the first private home in neo-gothic style by Friedrich von Schmidt, 1847-49
the modern complex with the old 'Hausmadonna'
the modern complex with the old 'Hausmadonna'
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k%C3%B6ln_altstadt_s%C3%BCd_landsbergstr_16_denkmal_denkmalschutz_konservator_stadt_8fbe62261_600x450xfr.jpeg

 

Neersen, Kl. Jerusalem, M.Magdalen, by Otto Mengelberg 1877
Neersen, Kl. Jerusalem, M.Magdalen, by Otto Mengelberg 1877
Helenabrunn, S.Helena, statue of Mary with Jezus, made by Otto Mengelberg
Helenabrunn, S.Helena, statue of Mary with Jezus, made by Otto Mengelberg
Communionbenches in the Münster in Bonn, made by Otto Mengelberg
Communionbenches in the Münster in Bonn, made by Otto Mengelberg
Bonn, Münster, communionbenches by Otto Mengelberg
Bonn, Münster, communionbenches by Otto Mengelberg

Otto Mengelberg

Otto Mengelberg (1841-1891), particuliere collectie Dalfsen, 2017

MORE A CRAFTSMAN AND A CARPENTER THEN A SCULPTOR 

The already mentioned Otto (1841-1891) was the second son of the couple Edmund (1814-1884) and Catharina (1811-1874). He was born in the centre of the city, like Wilhelm, at the Stolkgasse 9. He also became a Catholic and a sculptor. From 1865 onward he led the studio in Cologne, whereas his brother moved to other cities to make a living. In 1874 he married to Odilia Greven (1850-1926), who survived him for a quarter of a century. After his marriage, he moved to Klapperhof 7 in the surroundings of the S. Gereon, where he lived until his death. Wilhelm used this address during his great commission for the doors of the north- gate of the Cologne cathedral in the 1890s and Edmund moved into it after the death of Otto. Wilhelm needed this address to obtain the commission.

From the start, both were members of the ‘Verein für christliche Kunst Köln’, and there they met the influential people in the Roman-Catholic field in the Rhineland.

Otto and Wilhelm worked closely together from the start, and during the years they divided the labour between the studios in Utrecht and Cologne. As Otto was most of all a very good craftsman and carpenter, so he was mainly responsible for the fabrication of the church furniture. Some German art-historians attributed altars and statues to him,  but there was certainly a confusion with the younger Otto, his nephew, as was the case in Cologne in the S. Andreas.

The first commissions in the ‘Münster’ of Mönchengladbach were a start for the brothers: Schnütgen promoted the two and wrote in a recommendation letter, that when the two got the commission for the high-altar, they would move to Mönchengladbach and start a workshop there.

From the very few documents of the hand of Otto, we learn that his ability for writing and grammar was not that great. Also, his talent for sculpting was not impressive, as can be seen by the statues for the chapel ‘Klein Jerusalem’ in Neersen, where the commissioners were not satisfied at all. Alexander Schnütgen (1843-1918) had to intervene to secure that Otto got his money. But there was an additional problem, due to the damage caused by road transport by a cheap carrier, so Otto was not to blame for everything.

Otto made the communion-benches in the Munster of Bonn after the designs of Wilhelm: a type of work that he copied a lot in different forms and styles.

No children of Otto and Odilia followed in their father's footsteps. In the thirties of the 20th century, a son had a problem with his nephew Willem Mengelberg about a portrait of the ‘great’ Egidius Mengelberg. Eventually, it was all about money, understandably during these years of crisis.

Confessional of Otto Mengelberg in the church of Helenabrunn
Confessional of Otto Mengelberg in the church of Helenabrunn
detail of the confessional
detail of the confessional
Drove, S.Martin, detail of the pulpit, S.John, made by Otto Mengelberg
Drove, S.Martin, detail of the pulpit, S.John, made by Otto Mengelberg

 

The statue of Joseph of Arimathea for the cathedral in Cologne, made by Edmund Mengelberg
The statue of Joseph of Arimathea for the cathedral in Cologne, made by Edmund Mengelberg
Bonn, S.Marien, design for the pulpit made by Edmund
Bonn, S.Marien, design for the pulpit made by Edmund

Edmund Mengelberg

Edmund Mengelberg (1850-1921), Den Haag, Nederlands Muziek Instituut, archief Mengelbergstichting,

APPRENTICE,  TEACHER and above all MUSIC-LOVER

Thirteen years younger Edmund (1850-1922) was born in the Tempelstraße 24 (now Ritterstraße). He got training as an architect and designer. In 1876 he moved to Utrecht where he managed the studio of Wilhelm. In the period in between,  he was presumably the assistant of his older brother Otto. He was the teacher of Jan Hendrik Brom (1860-1915), the gold- and silversmith with whom the Mengelbergs worked closely together, but not in harmony all the time. On the contrary.

Together with Wilhelm, he designed the new buildings for Leiden university in 1877. The design won an honourable award, but not the commission in the end. That he was not a good architect proves 'his' altar in the 'Alt St. Katherina' in Cologne Niel in 1892. This piece of sacred furniture was far to small for the choir and did not please the pastor and the commissioners at all. He had to change the whole, by installing steps, after consulting his elder brother and asking him to interfere. Although the commissioners were alright with this intervention, the ultimate goal was not in the least impressive.

He did not sign his artworks: we know that the pulpit in the St. Marienkirche in Bonn was of his hand and a statue Joseph Arimathea in the laying of Christ in the grave in the Cologne Cathedral.

His interests drove him to music, as can be seen in the correspondence he had with his nephew, Willem. He stayed a bachelor all his life and died in Köln Lindenthal, Bachemstraße 33.

Design for the pulpit in the S. Marien in Bonn by Edmund Mengelberg, published in 'Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst', 1905, 1, p.22
Design for the pulpit in the S. Marien in Bonn by Edmund Mengelberg, published in 'Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst', 1905, 1, p.22
Design for the pulpit in the S. Marien in Bonn by Edmund Mengelberg, published in 'Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst', 1905, 1, p.22
Design for the pulpit in the S. Marien in Bonn by Edmund Mengelberg, published in 'Zeitschrift für christliche Kunst', 1905, 1, p.22