The Hausmann and Frielingsdorf families in the Deutsch-Römer tradition
A wide community of artists and people of letters in German language, with Austrian or German origin, lived in Rome and was known as the Deutschrömer. Among them, the painter Joseph Anton Koch, the forefather of the Hausmann and Frielingsdorf families, was one of the leading people.
Rome has always been an attractive city for European artists, including the German ones that in a great number moved to the Popes’ city. The first among them was the artist Albrecht Dürer, who moved to Rome in 1494.
Many more followed, until the end of the 18th Century, when the group grew around the charismatic figure of the painter Joseph Anton Koch. He was the referral point for the community of the Deutch-römer, both for the quality of his artistic production and for the deep integration he gained in Italy. He moved permanently to Rome, and definitely after the wedding with the daughter of a wine producer from the Roman Countryside, Cassandra Ranaldi. His Italian roots became so strong that from his name started a progeny strongly based in Rome: beyond the Kochs, still living in Rome, also the Hausmann, Frielingsdorf, Bretschneider, Curti Gialdino and Lodoli families.
A huge part of the Deutschrömer group gave birth to the movement of the Nazareni, so-called by Joseph Anton Koch because of their strong bond with Catholicism, their monastic lifestyle and their long hair. This painters shared the same loved places of Joseph Anton Koch: the countryside of Olevano, village where his wife Cassandra was born, and the Serpentara wood.
The German community in Rome used to meet in via dei Condotti, at the Caffè Greco. Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen, a professor from Breslavia, desicribed the meeting at the Cafè: “They all go to the Caffè Greco, which is called German Cafè, since it is closed to the Restaurant of the Germans and because during the holiday evenings all the German artists use to meet there”.
It is even more specific Daniel Amadeu Atterbom, a critic and poet from Sweden that writes to a friend: “Here life burns in the blood vessels as fire (…) and you feel pushed to live, love, write, sculpt, paint”. “Each year a great number of artists, scientists, poets and ladies come to Italy from Germany. The number of men is that high that allows them to recreate a stand-alone nation, with its laws, rules and habits. And the representatives of this peculiar “colony” are all there, easily recognizable and identifiable.”
Is this continuous flow of artists and scientists moving from German lands to Rome that brings to the Popes’ city the watchmakers Ernst Hausmann and, some years later, Hermann Frielingsdorf. The two of them will take over the watchmaking shop of an old Roman watchmaker without progeny, taking roots in Rome with their families. Rome, after one century and a half, is still hosting the watchmaking Company, named “Hausmann & Co.” in honor of its forefathers.