The Des Coudres Family

The name “Des Coudres” comes from the hamlet “Les Coeudres”―not far from La Sagne in Neuchátel in western Switzerland―which the family inhabited. 16 generations of Des Coudres follow from the progenitor, Hennemand Friolet des Coeudres, who lived around 1470. In the 18th Century the family took up residence in Kassel, Hesse in Germany.

Of particular interest is the artistic heritage of the family, represented by Ludwig, Adolf, and Selma Des Coudres. Ludwig “Louis” Des Coudres, born in 1820, was a painter, director and professor at the Art Academy in Karlsruhe. Some of his most famous students include, among others, the Baden painters Hans Thoma and Rudolf Epp.

His son, Adolf Des Coudres, born in 1862, was a successful landscape painter who studied under Gustav Schönleber at that same academy before he moved to Emmering, near Munich. Here in 1921 he married the much younger painter Selma Plawneck, born in Riga in 1883. You can see a small selection of the works of these three artists on this page.

You can find extensive information, biographies, and a large exhibition of works by Ludwig, Adolf, and Selma by taking a virtual studio tour at

Ausstellungsplakat Selma und Adolf Des Coudres

From May 22 to October 5, 2014, the City Museum of Fürstenfeldbruck will recognize the lives and works of Selma and Adolph in a special exhibit „Selma und Adolf Des Coudres. Ein ungleiches Künstlerpaar“. Accompanying the exhibit is a catalogue of their works, which is available for purchase directly at the museum.






Other members of the Des Coudres family in contemporary history include the Hessian Oberbergrat Julius Heinrich Des Coudres (1822 – 1902); his son Theodor Des Coudres (1862 – 1926), Privy Councillor and Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Leipzig; as well as Richard Des Coudres (1865 – 1930), Major General of the Prussian Army and President Emeritus of the Central German Singer’s Club. Richard’s only son, Hans-Peter Des Coudres (1905 – 1977), led the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg as director. His grandson, Nicolai Des Coudres, manages the family archives today.