Julius Allgeyer (1829–1900)

Julius Allgeyer (Photo cf. Brahms-Institut Lübeck, cf. https://www.brahmsinstitut.de/)

Julius Allgeyer was trained as a copper engraver in Karlsruhe; in 1848, he moved to Freiburg but then fled to Switzerland because of his involvement in the Revolution. In 1853, he returned to Germany and from 1854 studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy with Joseph von Keller (1811-1873). It was in this time that he met Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms with whom he was to be friends for many years. A travel grant allowed him to stay in Rome between 1856 and 1860, where he made the acquaintance of the painter Anselm Feuerbach. From 1860, Allgeyer lived in Karlsruhe where he opened a photo studio which he ran together with his brother Leo (1827-1891). In 1864, he met Hermann Levi (1839-1900) who was a conductor at the Karlsruhe Court Theatre at the time. Together with Brahms and Levi, they built a firm trio of friends; in fact, Brahms composed his German Requiem when staying several months with Julius Allgeyer in Karlsruhe in 1866. In 1872, Allgeyer moved to Munich where he first worked as chairman in the firm of the Bavarian Court Photographer Joseph Albert and then ran his own collotype establishment between 1881 and 1887.

Clara Schumann regarded Julius Allgeyer highly and he also went to see her several times in Baden-Baden; in her diary, she wrote that he was “[a kind and highly educated person whose every word expresses a fine disposition and delicate sensibility]” (Litzmann, Clara Schumann, Vol. 3, p. 195) and “[To me, Allgeyer is always a welcome visitor]” (ibid., p. 196). In August 1856, in turn, Clara Schumann went to see him in Überlingen am Bodensee [on Lake Constance] during a holiday trip to Switzerland. In the 1860s, Allgeyer made several photographs of Clara Schumann and her children and in the 1880s helped her prepare letters by Robert Schumann and Friedrich Wieck for a planned publication.

Allgeyer wrote a biography of his friend Feuerbach, deceased in 1880, which was published in 1894 and was read by Clara Schumann enthusiastically. In 1898, Marie Schumann asked Allgeyer to also write a biography of Clara Schumann. He responded to her request and produced a manuscript that went until her wedding in 1840, but Allgeyer passed away in 1900, still working on it. Marie Schumann then approached Berthold Litzmann, who had actually declined her original request in 1896 out of awe of the weighty task, but he now agreed and completed the Clara Schumann biography in three volumes by 1908.

Brahms dedicated his Ballads and Romances for two voices and piano, Op. 75, to Allgeyer. Robert Schumann dedicated him a piano piece titled “Ahnung [Premonition]”, the autograph of which was only discovered in 2008 at the Leopold and Sophie Library in Überlingen by the librarian Roswitha Lambertz when sorting Leo Allgeyer’s estate. Clara Schumann had presented it to Julius Allgeyer in October 1856.

Cf. Michael Beiche: “‘Herrn Julius Allgeyer’ gewidmet. Über ein bislang unbekanntes Klavierstück Robert Schumanns”, in: Marion Harder-Merkelbach, Roswitha Lambertz and Michael Brunner (eds): Robert und Clara Schumann. Romantische Entdeckungen, Überlingen Municipal Museum, 2010, pp. 29–40.

Cf. Marion Harder-Merkelbach, Roswitha Lambertz and Michael Brunner (eds): Robert und Clara Schumann. Romantische Entdeckungen, Überlingen Municipal Museum, 2010, p. 16.

Cf. Irmgard Knechtges-Obrecht: “Eine neu entdeckte Notenhandschrift Robert Schumanns in Überlingen”, in: Schumann-Portal – Das Internetportal des Schumann-Netzwerks. Office of the Schumann Network in Bonn. 2008. Online at: https://www.schumann-portal.de/eine-neu-entdeckte-notenhandschrift-454.html [14.09.2020].

Cf. Thomas Synofzik and Jochen Voigt: Aus Clara Schumanns Photoalben. Photographische Cartes de Visite aus der Sammlung des Robert-Schumann-Hauses Zwickau, Chemnitz, 2006.

(Theresa Schlegel, 2020, translated by Thomas Henninger, 2020)

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