(b Düsseldorf, Feb 2, 1827; d Düsseldorf, Feb 1, 1910).
German painter. He studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, as did his elder brother, the painter Andreas Achenbach (1815–1910), who was the main influence on him other than his teacher, Johann Wilhelm Schirmer. At a very early stage he began to prepare studies for landscapes in the area around Düsseldorf, sketching boulders, rocks, bushes, trees and people. From 1843 he went on many study tours, visiting Bavaria in 1843 and northern Italy and Switzerland in 1845. The Bavarian and Italian Alps stimulated him to create a unified approach to landscape painting. In such early works as Landscape (1846; Düsseldorf, Kstmus.) his receptiveness to atmospheric values can be seen, even if the precise detail and clear articulation into foreground, middle ground and background still clearly show his debt to Schirmer.
In 1850 Achenbach travelled to Rome and the Campagna, where he met Arnold Böcklin, who was also studying in Düsseldorf, and Heinrich Dreber. This journey was very significant for Achenbach; from then on Italian landscape and the southern way of life became his main subjects. Numerous drawings and oil sketches bear witness to his intensive study of nature. The warm ochre tones, attention to detail and the severe form of his works at this period still show Schirmer’s influence, but after another journey to Italy in ...