HOLBEIN, German family of painters of Swiss origin
Hans Holbein the Elder, who became one of the leading painters in south Germany, was the son of Michael Holbein, a tanner, who may have settled in Augsburg from Basle, and of Anna Mair, through whom he was related to important artists working in and near Augsburg. These included his uncles Hans Mair (probably identical with the painter Mair von Landshut) and Michel Erhart, and his cousins Gregor Erhart, Paulus Erhart and Hans Daucher, all of whom were sculptors. Apparently included in Hans Holbein the Elder's workshop was his brother Sigmund Holbein (d. 1540). In 1501 they were together at Frankfurt am Main and in 1516–17 Sigmund took proceedings against his brother, who had already left Augsburg. No documented work by Sigmund Holbein survives. Hans Holbein the Elder married c. 1494, but the identity of his wife is unknown; their two sons, Ambrosius Holbein and Hans Holbein the Younger, also became artists, the latter being among the most important portrait painters in northern Europe during the Reformation.