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Fritz von Kamptz

Epithet: Artist

Record type: Biographies

Biography: Born in Germany, Fritz von Kamptz was originally an officer in the German Army until he resigned his commission and in his own words ‘exchanged the sword for the brush’. He became a student at the Royal Academy, Düsseldorf from 1889 to 1896 and worked successfully as an artist both in Germany and Britain.

Von Kamptz worked in Britain for several years. In 1906 he was commissioned to produce a series of paintings for the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Bristol. Following the outbreak of war in 1914 he was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien in Knockaloe Civilian Internment Camp (1915) and then Douglas Camp (1915-17) from where he was transferred to Stratford Camp, London. Following the war, von Kamptz returned to Germany and produced paintings for churches in Steinhöfel, Lüberg and Berlin, as well as for the Geography Department of the University of Berlin.

Although little is known of von Kamptz’s early work, he did specialise in portrait painting, producing portraits of Lieutenant General von Kamptz (a veteran of the Franco-Prussian war), George Jacob Holyoake (promoter of the Co-operative movement and Secularism) and the Bishop of Bristol.

His 1906 commission for the Church of St Thomas, Bristol, saw him produce a series of four large oil paintings for the Reredos (panels behind the altar) depicting the Sermon on the Mount; the Prodigal Son; the Good Samaritan; and the Last Supper. The work demonstrated his desire to paint with a degree of realism, omitting entirely the normal inclusion of halos and angelic figures. Contemporaries commented upon how he tried to imitate Rembrandt in his use of extreme light and shadow. Sadly it is likely that much of his work in Europe did not survive the Second World War.

Occupation / profession: artist

Gender: Male

Date of birth: 1866

Place of birth: Glogau, Prussia

Date of death: 1938

Place of death: Hindelang, Germany

Name Variant: von, Fritz


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