Open main menu

Karl Ferdinand Sohn

Karl Ferdinand Sohn, from a group portrait by Julius Hübner

Karl Ferdinand Sohn (10 December 1805 in Berlin – 25 November 1867 in Cologne) was a German painter of the Düsseldorf school of painting.


Sohn in his studio, 1846

He was born in Berlin, started his studies at the age of eighteen under Wilhelm von Schadow, whom he followed to Düsseldorf. He treated principally mythical and poetic subjects of a highly romantic character, and painted in the mechanically idealistic manner of the Düsseldorf school.

He visited Italy (1830–1831) and adopted ideas from the works of the Venetians: Titian, Paolo Veronese, and Palma il Vecchio. In 1832, he was made professor in the Düsseldorf Academy, where he exercised an important influence.

On 18 January 1834 Karl Ferdinand Sohn married Emilie Auguste von Mülmann in Düsseldorf. They had five children. His two sons Paul Eduard Richard Sohn (1834–1912) and Karl Friedrich Rudolf Sohn (1845–1908) also grew up to be painters. The latter married Else Sohn-Rethel (1853–1933), daughter of the painter Alfred Rethel. Clara, his eldest daughter, was married to the German composer and conductor Albert Dietrich. His daughter Marie married the painter Karl Hoff (1838–1890). The painter Wilhelm Sohn (1830–1899), born in Berlin, was his nephew and student. He married his youngest daughter Emilie in 1861; by this his nephew have been as well his son-in-law. He painted at first biblical subjects, and then devoted himself to genre scenes, good in characterization and drawing and of great coloristic charm. Among these are: the Consultation at the Lawyer's (1866, Leipzig Museum) and the Warrior of the Seventeenth Century (1869, Dresden Gallery).

At the age of nearly sixty-two Karl Ferdinand Sohn died on 25 November 1867 during a visit to his friend Ferdinand Hiller in Cologne.

Master StudentsEdit

Selected paintingsEdit

External linksEdit


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.