Rudolf von Alt

1812 Vienna - 1905 Vienna

Rudolf von Alt, son of Jakob and brother of Franz Alt, first studied under his father. In 1826 he started studying at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts but continued to work closely with his father. Together they often set out on walks through Salzburg, Bavaria, Tyrol and Northern Italy in order to study the landscapes. They were commissioned by Archduke Ferdinand to create a comprehensive series of images for peep boxes which they worked on between 1833 and 1844. In 1833 they visited Venice together for the first time and in 1835 explored Rome and Naples. Rudolf von Alt continued to travel extensively until well into old age. His numerous official commissions earned him various titles and awards. Among these appointments was his commission by the Vienna Academy to capture for their collection important historical buildings in watercolour. One of the founding members of the Vienna Künstlerhaus, he became its president in 1874 and was later appointed honorary president of the Vienna Secession founded in 1897. His oeuvre comprises more than 5000 works, most of them watercolours depicting landscapes in topographically precise proportions. Most of his oil paintings were executed during the winter months in his studio. Rudolf von Alt is arguably the most important painter of watercolours of the 19th century. Because of his artistical developement and personal engagement he was very much revered by collectors as well as artists until his death in 1905. In 1897 the young and revolutionist founders of the Vienna Secession elected him their president of honour.


L.Hevesi / K.M.Kuzmany, Rudolf von Alt. Sein Leben und sein Werk, Vienna 1911; A.Roessler, Rudolf von Alt, Leipzig 1921; W.Koschatzky, Rudolf von Alt, Salzburg 1975; W.Koschatzky, Rudolf von Alt, Vienna 2001; Exhibit. cat. Rudolf von Alt, Albertina 2005; Exhibit. cat. Jakob und Rudolf von Alt im Auftrag des Kaisers, Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Maria Luise Sternath (Editor), Albertina, Vienna 2010; Exhib. Cat.: "Rudolf von Alt: Genial, lebhaft, natürlich und wahr. Der Münchner Bestand und seine Provenienz", Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, edited by Andreas Strobl, Berlin Munich2015; Lexica: Wurzbach, Boetticher, Thieme-Becker