Rudolf Wilke was born in Germany in 1873. He studied Fine Art at Munich and Paris before setting up a studio with his friend, Bruno Paul. He became a regular contributor to Die Jugend before Albert Langenrecruited Wilke to work for Simplicissimus.
In 1906 several staff members, including Wilke, Olaf Gulbransson, Ludwig Thoma, Bruno Paul, Thomas Heine, Edward Thonyand Rudolf Wilke persuaded Albert Langen to change Simplicissimus into a joint stock company. This gave more power to the staff to control the direction of the journal. Rudolf Wilke died in 1908.