Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach

Asking the Stars,

1895, oil on canvas


Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913)

"Asking the Stars"

oil on canvas


60 x 45 cm 

signed and dated (incised) lower left: "K. W. Diefenbach 1895"


Publication History:

Claudia Wagner, Der Kuenstler Karl Eilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913), Meister und Mission, diss. 2007, Werkkatalog, pg. 25, W.K Nr. 3.27 and 3.28.

For related paintings, see: Michael Buhrs, ed., Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913) Lieber sterben, als meine Ideale verleugnen! (Munich: Museum Villa Stuck and Edition Minerva, 2009), pgs. 163-164, ills. 135-136.


Looking for answers in the sublime nature of the infinite universe: “Asking the Stars,” by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach.

With his long hair, bare feet, flowing robes, and  revolutionary ideas, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851-1913) was a counterculture figure of late 19th-century Germany.  Naturist, vegetarian, pacifist, and utopian-commune founder, Diefenbach was also one of the most distinctive and visionary German artists in the symbolist idiom.  This painting, “Asking the Stars,” presents one of his recurrent motifs.   Diefenbach's daughter, Stella, was the model.

For a relatively brief but significant period, Diefenbach’s followers included the young artist Fidus (Hugo Höppener), upon whom Diefenbach was a profound influence.

In the Daulton Collection, there are 12 oil paintings by Diefenbach, constituting the largest collection in the USA. 

-- Jack Daulton
Stella Diefenbach as the model for the painting "Asking the Stars":
photographer unknown (but probably Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach)

Stella Diefenbach in studio of Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach as model for the painting Asking the Stars 

circa 1885, 
probably gelatin silver print

whereabouts unknown (not owned by The Daulton Collection)


Jack Daulton

The Daulton Collection

Los Altos Hills, California


Instagram: @thedaultoncollection