The Generations of Mengelberg


Select a Generation to read more about The Mengelberg Family Members, or read a small introduction below.

Wilhelm Mengelberg ca. 1895 - priv.coll. Utrecht 2016
Otto Mengelberg (1841-1891), particuliere collectie Dalfsen, 2017

The First Generation

The members of the first generation of the Mengelberg-family, at work in the field of church architecture and decoration within the circle of the ultramontane cloth and Catholics, were concentrated around the person of Wilhelm Mengelberg. They were his younger brothers, Otto (1841-1891) and Edmund (1850-1921). Wilhelm started his career in Cologne and Aix-la-Chapelle and surroundings, where he worked together with Otto (1841) for the cathedrals and ‘Münster’ in Aix-la-Chapelle, Bonn and Mönchengladbach. The prelates Franz Joseph Bock and somewhat later Alexander Schnütgen coached the two converted artists very narrowly within the entourage of the ‘Verein für christliche Kunst’ in Cologne. When Wilhelm moved to Aix-la-Chapelle, Otto (1841) continued the workshop in Cologne. In 1869 Wilhelm and his young family became citizens of Utrecht, where he was able to found a flourishing workshop at Maliebaan 80. His mentor was Gerard van Heukelum, deacon of the S. Catharina, the newly appointed cathedral. Wilhelm operated within the circle of the Guild of S. Bernulphus, comparable to the Guild of S. Thomas and S. Luke in Belgium. In the high days of this workshop, the Mengelbergs divided the work between Cologne and Utrecht: the studio at the Maliebaan produced sculpture, glass painting and mural painting and the one in Cologne, later Brühl, made the carpentry and fabricated the secular and clerical furniture. The third member of this generation, Edmund (1850-1921) continued the atelier in Cologne after his brother’s  death in 1891 and moved it to Brühl in 1897. This workshop existed till his death in 1921. In the beginning, the artists worked in a combination of ‘volkstümliche’ characteristics in a neo-romanesque and neo-baroque style, like the confessional in the S. Katharine in Kohlscheid, the glass-paintings in the S. Martinus in Wevelinghoven and the altar in the S.Vitus in Mönchengladbach. After these early years, Wilhelm gained his maturity in Utrecht with the decoration of the neo-Gothic churches, built by Alfred Tepe. With these interiors, he made an impression on the German cloth and obtained various commissions in the Rhineland, where he continued to work in the neo-Gothic style until his death. One can find objects of his workshops all over the Rhineland, the church provinces of Haarlem/Amsterdam, Groningen/Leeuwarden, Paderborn, Trier and Mainz. Otto (1841) and Edmund (1850) did not develop a personal style, where the method of Wilhelm is very recognisable.


The Second Generation

Due to the birthdates of two sons of Wilhelm, who followed in their fathers’ footsteps, Otto (1867-1924) and Hans (1885-1945) the cooperation with the first generation was inevitable. Their father Wilhelm trained them both under his guidance. Otto (1867) was a very gifted artist who inherited the talent for drawing of his father. He got the commissions for designing some of the ‘prototypes’ of the studios, like the seated ‘Madonna with child’, a price winning statue, now in the S. Marien church in Bonn. Otto designed, without a doubt the sculptures of saints in great editions, which Wilhelm sold to many churches in the Rhineland and outside. Like his father, he made illustrations for a various kind of magazines and print works, for banners, coins and tapestries. He had an individual style in his glass- and mural paintings, as can be seen in the S. Joseph church in Krefeld. Although a gifted artist, he lacked the management- and networking capacities of his father.

His younger brother Hans was also trained at the workshop in Utrecht by his father and worked in different genres. After his learning period, he specialised in ceramics and started to work in a modernist way. Like his colleagues he was inspired by the art deco, ‘de Stijl’ and New Symbolism and broke with the neo-Gothic dogma of his father in style, but not on the subject and representation, as can be seen in the design for the baldachin altar for the H.Trinity church in Oldenzaal. He worked for the same ultramontane cloth as the first generation and Otto (1867).


Otto Mengelberg (1867) at the age of 45?, priv.coll.2017
Schermafbeelding 2017-10-27 om 15.53.43

The Third Generation

A son of Otto (1867) Willem (1896-1967)  concentrated on being a glass-painter. He was trained at the workshop of his father and grandfather and got a professional teaching at the ‘Kunstnijverheidsschool’ in Amsterdam in 1911-1912. He managed the department for the profane art of his fathers’ studio. In 1921 he and his father became a commendatary.  After the death of Otto in 1924 he continued the workshop till 1965. In 1932 he transferred his atelier to Zeist. He worked not only for the church but also for profane commissioners like the industrial Jongerius in Utrecht in the Villa Jongerius, the city hall of Asten en Dinther, the KRO in Hilversum and the V&D in Utrecht.  His style is according the current style of the Interbellum period, the art deco, in the Netherlands called the ‘School of Amsterdam’ and that of the fifties. His choice of subjects and way of representation are a continuation of his predecessors, with characteristic elements, as can be seen in the glass -paintings in the S. Joseph in Utrecht. He was married, but the marriage stayed childless. Figuration remained all the time the characteristic of his works and that of the earlier generations Mengelberg