Johann Heinrich Müntz

born 1727, died 1798

Swiss-German watercolor painter, architect, landscaper and lithographer born in Mulhouse, Alsace. As a young man, he left his hometown and embarked on a journey across Europe, visiting Spain (1748), Italy (1749-51, 1751-53), France (1753), Jersey (1753-54/55), England (1755-63), Greece and Jerusalem (1762-63), Holland (1763-78), Poland (1779-85), Italy again (1785) and Kassel (1786-98). Information on his formal training is lacking, but he was likely to have studied painting and drawing in Mulhouse, continuing his education in Italy and France. His principal subject for drawing was landscapes and architecture, which he also began studying as a theoretical discipline starting with his time in Spain. His stay in Italy inspired him to delve into the history of ancient vases, which he wrote a theoretical treatise on, supplemented with numerous sketches and scale drawings. In England, he designed a series of garden structures in the neo-Gothic style on commission for clients who’d previously appreciated his drawing and portraiture work. He was among the pioneers of the neo-Gothic style, and his fascination with English Gothic architecture was punctuated with the publication of a pioneering illustrated theoretical treatise on the topic. During his time in Greece and Jerusalem, he documented various relics and landscapes. In Holland, he learned the tricks of the metallurgy and currency minting trades, while also copying the paintings and etchings of contemporary masters. From 1779, he worked as a draughtsman to the court, as well as advisor and architect to Prince Stanisław Poniatowski, whose trip across Poland and Ukraine he documented on paper. He approached the king with an offer to purchase a collection of drawings of vases and a project for a new forge in Medziana Góra. He spent the final years of his life in Kassel, drawing its environs, the palace gardens of Wilhelmshöhe, and eventually took up lithography, while gradually selling off the works in his collection.

Show description