1896

Born on September 1 in Weferlingen, near Helmstedt, to the pharmacist Karl Josef Emil Peiffer and his wife Anna, née Kux.

1903

Death of his father.

1906

His mother takes Dr. phil. Heinrich Watenphul as her second husband, schoolmaster of the Quedlinburg Gymnasium.

1911

The family moves to Hattingen, where Dr. Watenphul is named director of the Realgymnasium.

1914

Abitur (university entrance) examination. After initially studying medicine in Bonn, he chooses to study law in Strasbourg, Frankfurt am Main, and Munich. While in Munich, he first encounters contemporary art and makes the acquaintance of Paul Klee.

1918

He takes his doctorate in church law in Würzburg, then does military service.

1919

Law clerk at the Hattingen district court. He takes on the double name Peiffer Watenphul from September 4 on. In that autumn, he resolves to give up the legal profession and become an artist.

1919–22

Student at the Bauhaus in Weimar; friendship with Lily and Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, Josef Albers, Wassily Kandisky, Kurt Schwitters, and Johannes Itten.

1920

Becomes a member of the artist group Das Junge Rheinland. Friendship with Otto Dix, Werner Gilles, and Otto Pankok. Under contract with Galerie Flechtheim in Düsseldorf. First visit to Salzburg.

1921

Exhibition at the Städtisches Kunstmuseum, Essen, organized by Ernst Gosebruch. Travels to Italy in the autumn.

1922

Works over the summer at the enamel workshop of Maria Cyrenius in Salzburg. Meets Alexej von Jawlensky in Elberfeld.

1924

Travels to Mexico on July 1 (and remains there until February 1925).

1925/26

Spends periods of time in Dalmatia, the south of France, Paris, Florence, and Rome.

1927

Teacher of general artistic design at the Folkwangschule Essen (until 1931). Numerous trips to Paris.

1931

Awarded the Prize of Rome. Nine-month residency at the Villa Massimo in Rome begins October 1.

1933

Receives the Carnegie Prize.

1933–37

Resides at the house of his parents in Hattingen, and also spends several periods in Italy.

1937

Confiscation of his works in museums. Represented at the “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich. Moves to Italy that fall.

1937–41

On Ischia with the painters Werner Gilles, Rudolf Levy, Hans Purrmann, Karli Sohn-Rethel, and Eduard Bargheer, the composer Gottfried von Einem, and others.

1941

He is, from April on, teacher of drawing and painting at the Höhere Fachschule für textile Flächenkunst (Upper Professional School for Two-Dimensional Textile Art) in Krefeld.

1943

His studio is destroyed by the bombing of Krefeld on June 22. He begins teaching at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) in Salzburg on September 1.

1946

After the end of the war, he is refused a residency permit in Austria. He flees on foot over the Brenner Pass to Venice, where he lives with his sister Grace until 1958. Friendship with Filippo De Pisis, Zoran Mušič, and Peggy Guggenheim.

1950

Four paintings shown at the XXVth Biennale in Venice.

1951

First postwar trip to Salzburg. Studio at the Künstlerhaus (until 1971).

1952

At the urging of the Zurich gallerist Chichio Haller, he prints his first color lithographs.

1956

Travels to Spain and Morocco.

1958

Moves to Rome (Via dei Greci).

1961

First travels to Greece.

1964

Begins his annual stays on the island of Corfu. Accepts a position at the International Summer Academy for Fine Arts in Salzburg. Is named a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. Receives the Ring of Honor of the City of Salzburg.

1968

Receives the Grand Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

1970

Paints his last painting in December, after which he does only drawings, watercolors, and lithographs.

1976

Dies on July 13 in Rome. Buried in the cemetery at the Pyramid of Cestius.