Wintzer, Richard (1866-1952)

Wintzer, Richard (1866-1952)

German illustrator, composer, and music critic Richard Wintzer transposed the lyricism and sweet melodies of his music into his visual art.

The specific details of Wintzer’s life and, indeed, how his interest in music and composing began, are unknown. However, it is clear that Wintzer’s artistic endeavours bloomed at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, before he moved onto the Academy in Berlin.

It was in Berlin, it seems, he remained as he carved out his career. Music was his main occupation. He is often cited in music magazines and was lauded as a ‘facteur of commendable attainments.’ However, the conclusion can be drawn that he decorated the covers of his music sheets with illustrations just as melodious. ‘The background is a sunny light that casts its twitching rays evenly in all directions,’ a critic would write in admiration.

Indeed, the drawings and illustrations of Wintzer’s that remain do display a commendable skill for composing strong character and mood. Sketches portray an innate ability to conjure up the spirit of a person with only pen and paper. There is gravitas in a drawing of Prince Johann Georg of Saxony, an authenticity of character in his many sketches of doctor and scientist Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902). Perhaps Wintzer knew the physician.

The various notes which made up the melody of Wintzer’s life are also the subject of his illustrations. A woman stands boldly on the steps of a bathing machine, confident in her bathing suit. In another, a woman lies prostrate on a couch, and in another relaxes in a chair. Perhaps one of these women was his wife, Alma Habermann. Studies of ordinary objects also exist, an iron turned on its side, flowers examined closely.

These illustrations are fascinating, perhaps giving brief glimpses into what fascinated Wintzer and the various aspects of his life he perceived worthy of sketching. They show him keen to compose something other than music.

Not only did Wintzer employ his artistic abilities to his own works, but he was also commissioned by the ‘Berlin Local Gazette’ to execute a number of illustrations to supplement their publication. As well as this, he also authored a number of publications, one of which was entitled ‘The Boundaries Between Painting and Music.’ This suggests Wintzer valued the connection between his visual and musical arts.

Wintzer was clearly a man of much talent, devoting it to numerous mediums and orchestrating for himself a place within the Berlin art scene and its music halls. It is a shame that the finer details of his life do not remain, however examples of his work continue to play on, recording his merits and achievements.


Born in Nauendorf, Halle, Germany.


Published ‘The Boundaries Between Painting and Music.’


Died in Berlin, Germany.

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