Rudolf Julius Benno (1806–1882) and Pauline (1809–1895) Hübner, née Bendemann

Julius Hübner, Selbstbildnis von 1864.
[fig.] Julius Hübner, self portrait from 1864. Reproduction of an older copy of the original drawing

The history, portrait and genre painter Julius Hübner was born in 1806 in Oels. He initially studied at the Royal Art Academy in Berlin and the age of 16 he joined the Atelier Wilhelm von Schadow.

In 1826 he followed with a few other students his teacher to Düsseldorf, where Schadow was appointed director of the local art academy. In the year of his marriage to Pauline Bendemann, the sister of the painter Edward Bendemann, Julius Hübner went on a long journey to Italy with his wife; their first daughter was born in Rome. Until his engagement in Dresden in 1839, Hübner stayed in Düsseldorf.

In 1841 Hübner was appointed to a professorship at the Royal Art Academy and became also director of the gallery in 1871. Clara and Robert Schumann first met Julius and Pauline Hübner as well as the couple Bendemann in their time in Dresden friend and became close friends with the painter and his wife. Schumann mentioned a visit to “Hübner’s” for the first time on 15th of May 1846 in his book for household accounts. The relationship turned out to be a lively one, music was made at both places, at Schumann’s and Hübner’s. Often Bendemann’s joined these come-togethers. They exchanged views on music and visual arts, but they also discussed about politics. Thus, Clara Schumann once actually argued with Pauline Hübner about politics in 1848, which she noticed surprised in her diary. Julius Hübner was also godfather of the son Ludwig who was born the same year and for whom he also took care in later years when his illness turned out to be incurable and a removal to a hospital seemed to be inevitable.

Clara Schumann wrote to Johannes Brahms on 5th of May 1870 that Ludwig has been very ill and she had "asked Hübner, to consult with some physicians and to act instead of me - that, in this case, can only be done by a man." In the meantime, Julius Hübner took over custody.

20 years earlier, when Clara and Robert Schumann moved from Dresden to Düsseldorf, Clara wrote into her diary: "Bendemanns are the only ones (Hübners, of course, included), of which saying farewell will be very hard!" One proof of solidarity is the pencil drawing that today is saved at the Heinrich-Heine-Institut (Dickinson) and which Julius Hübner annotated with the inscription „Andante pastorale, Var. 1ma / dedicated to Clara Schumann by Julius Hübner, Dresden 1846 “. This sheet is part of various studies of Hübner's "Golden Age" from the 1840s.

Even after the departure of the Schumanns, the friendship persisted and when Clara returned to Dresden to give concerts, she usually stayed at Hübner’s.

When Clara Schumann celebrated her 50th anniversary as an artist on the 20th of October 1878, she received many official honors, but also a watercolor pen drawing which was made by the in 1842 born Eduard Hübner on behalf of his parents. With his drawing he framed a self-penned and very personal tribute poem "To Clara Schumann"; the paper is now kept in the archives of the Robert-Schumann-Haus in Zwickau.

When Julius and Pauline Hübner celebrated their golden wedding in 1879, a "good advice was precious", concerning the gift Clara Schumann wanted to give them, but then her daughter Marie had the idea that the mother should compose a march and include Robert Schumann's duet "Grandfather and Grandmother". Thus, after 20 years of break, Clara Schumann's very last composition was made, her march in E flat major for piano four hands, and which published by Gerd Nauhaus in 1996. The two-handed version, which Clara gave her daughter Elise, is, however, remained unpublished until today. Clara dedicated this march, in which also echoes of Schumann's "Manfred," can be found, to "the dear friends Julius and Pauline Hübner as festive compliment on the May 21, 1879". Julius Hübner sent Clara a warm letter of thanks along with a printed poem, "The new Polycrates."

Clara Schumann outlived both Julius and Pauline Hübner, with whom she shared happy memories of her husband and the years in Dresden.

(Julia M. Nauhaus, translated by Katharina Ma)

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