Ernst Vollbehr (1876-1960) was a German travel writer, prolific painter, and illustrator. Vollbehr studied art in Berlin, Dresden, Paris and Rome before going on expeditions to Albania and Brazil in the early 1900s. During these trips he became familiar with painting landscapes and other travel scenes. During the First World War, Vollbehr was a war artist and a selection of his work was published in 1915 as ‘Kriegsbilder-Tagebuch des Malers Ernst Vollbehr’. Compared to the dark expressionism of contemporary Belgian and German colleagues, Vollbehr’s paintings were easy to look at as he was inspired by the soldiers’ daily lives and the landscapes instead of the horrors of war.
In 1927, with the financial support of the Dutch government, he travelled to the Dutch East Indies. His Asian paintings were exhibited in the Colonial Museum in Amsterdam and the Scherl-Haus in Berlin and received much acclaim. Later, Vollbehr was commissioned by the Nazi government to paint scenes from the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin as well as other large German public works projects. Vollbehr was in Ceylon between 1930 and 1933.