TISCHBEIN, Johann Heinrich the Elder
(b. 1722, Haina, d. 1789, Kassel)


German painter, part of a family of artists from Hesse which between the early 18th century and the late 19th produced 28 artists and artisans, a third of them women, who were active throughout Germany and elsewhere in Europe. The family's three most famous members are known as 'der Kasseler' (Johann Heinrich Tischbein I), 'der Leipziger'(Johann Friedrich August Tischbein) and 'der Neapolitaner' or 'Goethe Tischbein' (Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein).

Johann Heinrich Tischbein (der Kasseler) was apprenticed to Johann Baptist Zimmermann, Johann Georg von Freese (1701-75) and his brother Johann Valentin Tischbein (1715-68) before training with Carle Vanloo in Paris (1748) and with Giovanni Battista Piazzetta in Venice (1749). He copied the Venetian Masters and visited Rome; he returned to Germany in 1751. The following year he settled permanently in Kassel as court painter to the Landgrave William VIII of Hesse-Kassel. He also served as professor of the Akademie in Kassel from 1762. Among his earliest successes was the Schönheitsgalerie for William VIII, a collection of portraits of aristocratic women painted in a conservative Rococo style (1752-5; Kassel, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe). The amiable charm of his worldly style and technical virtuosity soon established him among the foremost portrait painters, particularly of women, of the period.