* 1880 Krefeld
† 1940 Kalkar
Franz Heinrich Nauen was enthusiastic about art from an early age. At 16 he succeeded in persuading his father to support his apprenticeship under Wilhelm Pastern, a church and decoration painter. Only a year later Nauen was admitted to the Düsseldorf Art Academy, which had previously rejected his application. There he studied under Heinrich Lauenstein, Willi Spatz and E. von Gebhardt, before leaving the Academy in 1899. After a short period of training in Munich at the Heinrich Knirr School of Painting, Nauen moved to Stuttgart in 1900 to study under Leo von Kalckreuth, whom he soon found unconvincing as an artist. Nauen then moved to Krefeld in 1902 and took part in the first public show of his work in Düsseldorf. The years that followed saw Nauen strongly under the influence of life in the Flemish artist colony of Sint-Martens-Latem and close contacts with the Berlin Secession. In 1905 Nauen went with his wife, Marie von Malachowski, to Paris, where both enrolled at the Académie Julien. There they experienced the birth of Fauvism and also met fellow German artists, including Paula Modersohn-Becker and Hans Purrmann. In his return to Germany, Nauen moved to Berlin, where he became a member of the 'Deutscher Künstlerbund' ('German Artists' League'). At this time he became friends with Walter Kaesbach, who would support Nauen in the decades to come. The year 1907 brought financial and personal difficulties. Nauen moved several times, spending most of his time, however, between Krefeld and Berlin and his summers at Visé in France. He forged close links with Heinrich Campendonk, Helmuth Macke and Will Wieger although Nauen's relationship with the Berlin Secession became increasingly fraught. Criticisms of Nauen's closeness to van Gogh were voiced in Germany and this negative reaction to his work ultimately led him to destroy a great part of it in 1910. Nauen felt drawn again to the lower reaches of the Rhine, where he took over Dilborn Castle in 1911. Nauen served at the front in France from 1915 until 1918. Appointed professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, Nauen continued to paint murals and did mosaics as well. In 1931 the artist moved to Neuss, spending the summers of 1934/37 on Lake Constance. Discharged from his academic duties in 1937, Nauen settled at Kalkar and died there in 1940.