Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

1793 Vienna - 1865 Mödling (near Vienna)

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller started studying at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1807. After only two years of training, he received a first major award for his work and was honoured again the following year. During his early career he was primarily interested in portraits and flower paintings. In 1811 he left the Academy and moved, via Bratislava, to Zagreb where he taught drawing and worked as a stage painter for the city’s main theatre. In 1813 he returned to Vienna, where he took summer courses in portraiture at the Vienna Academy. These courses resulted in various reproductions. Around that time the artist also started to paint ´along nature´, turning his focus to genre painting and still lifes. From 1829 he worked as a curator at the Vienna Academy. Following a trip to Paris in 1830, his focus shifted to landscape painting. By 1830 he was proficient in virtually all painterly genres. In 1835 he received the title of Academic Council of the Vienna Academy. In the late 1830s Waldmüller came into conflict with the art establishment and the Academy. He was subsequently demoted, suspended and later forced into early retirement. However, he still remained highly successful as an artist. In the early 1860s he was rehabilitated and knighted. Waldmüller features among some of the greatest artists. His motifs were very important, serving as a means of transporting the artist’s ideas and convictions, as representations and allegories. More important still was his style, however, his artistic interpretation of the visible world and his actual intention to define truth and truthfulness as optical reality. The fact that he helped to shape 19th century art’s concept of reality can indeed be seen as one of Waldmüller’s foremost contributions.


A. Roessler / G. Pisko, F. G. Waldmüller, Sein Leben, sein Werk und seine Schriften, Vienna 1907; B. Grimschitz, F. G. Waldmüller, Salzburg 1957; M. Buchsbaum, F. G. Waldmüller. 1793-1865, Salzburg 1976; R. Feuchtmüller, F. G. Waldmüller. 1793-1865. Leben, Schriften, Werke, Vienna 1996; H. Giese, F. G. Waldmüller. Vom Zauber der Wirklichkeit, in: Parnass, no.1, Vienna 1997, pp. 64.; Lexica: Wurzbach, Thieme-Becker, Boetticher, Müller-Singer, Bénézit