Wilhelm Busch (15th April 1832 – 9th January 1908) was a German caricaturist, painter and poet who is famed for his satirical picture stories with rhymed texts.
After initially studying mechanical engineering and then art in Dusseldorf, Antwerp, and Munich, he turned to drawing caricatures.
One of his first picture stories, Max and Moritz (published in 1865), was an immediate success and has achieved the status of a popular classic and perennial bestseller.
Max and Moritz as well as many of his other picture stories are regarded as one of the main precursors of the modern comic strip.
Wilhelm Busch also wrote a number of poems in a similar style to his picture stories. Besides that he produced more than 1,000 oil paintings that remained unsold up to his death in 1908. He was also active as a sculptor.
Many couplets from Busch's humorous verses have achieved the status of adages in the German language, such as "Vater werden ist nicht schwer, Vater sein dagegen sehr" ("It is easy to become a father, but being one is rather harder") or "Dieses war der erste Streich, doch der zweite folgt sogleich" ("This was the initial trick, but the second follows quick"). Only Goethe and Schiller are quoted more frequently in German than Busch.
When it comes to notable events in the life of Wilhelm Busch, one must mention Hattorf am Harz. As a young boy he spent many days here with his friend Erich Ebergoetzen exploring the region and the town of Hattorf am Harz.
Later when his nephew Noedeke Hermann was appointed pastor in 1887, he was the first person to visit them.
Over the next 20 years he visited the town, often several times a year. He was to describe it as “village under the Harz.” Here he felt relaxed, enjoying the peace and tranquillity around the vine covered rectory and in the family of his nephew.
He took an active part in the growth of the two Noeldeke daughters and yet had the time to sketch in his inimitable style buildings in the city and the surrounding countryside.
The "Association of Wilhelm Busch in Hattorf e. V." is a small museum, where you can learn more about the connection of Wilhelm Busch and Hattorf am Harz.
The museum is open during the summer months daily from 10.00am – 4.00pm, and in the winter by appointment. A memorial stone near the church commemorates the great artist.
You can read more in the book "Wilhelm Busch in Hattorf" (by A. Large)
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