Ferdinand Laufberger

Ferdinand Laufberger photographed by Carl Herberth, around 1860, Wien Museum
© Wien Museum

The painter Ferdinand Laufberger taught painting and decorative art at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts from 1868. He trained Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt and Franz Matsch as decorative painters and let them contribute to several of his commissions, thus giving the future members of the “Künstler-Compagnie” the opportunity to gather practical experience.

Ferdinand Julius Wilhelm Laufberger, born in Mariaschein in Northern Bohemia (now Bohosudov, Czech Republic) in 1829, received his basic artistic training in Prague. He studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts from 1844 and at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts from 1852. While he was still a student, he began working as a painter and illustrator at the Wiener Xylographische Anstalt, a printing company specializing in wood engravings and run by the publisher Rudolf Schürer von Waldheim; Laufberger’s drawings were for instance published in the humorous magazines Illustrierte Blätter and Figaro. After his graduation, Laufberger went on a two-year study trip that for instance took him to France and Italy.

Teaching at the School of Arts and Crafts
Laufberger took on a teaching post at the Drawing and Painting Class at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts of the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry in 1868. From 1878/79, Gustav Klimt, Ernst Klimt and Franz Matsch attended his class. The fact that Laufberger – who had by now been reinstated as head of the Drawing and Painting Class – promoted their talents is well documented. Gustav Klimt, for instance, received a correspondence card from Ferdinand Laufberger in 1880 (Klimt Archives, Albertina) with the offer of a small artistic commission.

Gallery

Correspondence Card from Ferdinand Laufberger to Gustav Klimt

  • Ferdinand Laufberger: Correspondence card from Ferdinand Laufberger in Vienna to Gustav Klimt in Vienna, 01/24/1880, The Albertina Museum
    © ALBERTINA, Wien
  • Ferdinand Laufberger: Correspondence card from Ferdinand Laufberger in Vienna to Gustav Klimt in Vienna, 01/24/1880, The Albertina Museum
    © ALBERTINA, Wien

Ferdinand Laufberger: Decorative studies, The Albertina Museum Vienna
© ALBERTINA, Wien

During their studies, Laufberger also let the future members of the “Künstler-Compagnie” contribute to major commissions, such as the decorative paintings in the courtyards of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Furthermore, it is presumed that Laufberger recommended the young artists to the architectural firm Fellner and Helmer around the same time.

Laufberger, Painter and Graphic Artist
Laufberger died in Vienna in 1881, aged only 52. His most important works include the illustration designs for the Album zur Erinnerung an die Donau [Souvenir Album of the Danube], the stage curtain for the Vienna Court Opera (destroyed in 1945), the frescoes and sgraffiti decorations for the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (removed in 1888) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum (around 1880) as well as the mosaic draft for the Pallas Athene on the Stubenring (1877). 

Literature and sources

  • Historische Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Hg.): Neue Deutsche Biografie, Band 13, Berlin 1982, S. 707-708.
  • Tobias G. Natter (Hg.): Gustav Klimt. Sämtliche Gemälde, Vienna 2012, S. 522.
  • Alfred Weidinger (Hg.): Gustav Klimt, Munich - Berlin - London - New York 2007, S. 232.
  • Mittheilungen des k. k. Österreichischen Museums für Kunst und Industrie. Monatsschrift für Kunst und Gewerbe, 16. Jg., Heft 191 (1881), S. 401-405.
  • Mittheilungen des k. k. Österreichischen Museums für Kunst und Industrie. Monatsschrift für Kunst und Gewerbe, 20. Jg., Heft 234 (1885), S. 333-335.
  • Neue Illustrierte Zeitung, 31.07.1881, S. 715-716.
  • Österreichische Kunst-Chronik, Nummer 6 (1882), S. 68-69.
  • Felix Czeike (Hg.): Historisches Lexikon Wien, Band 3, Vienna 1994, S. 692.
  • Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Hg.): Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950, Band 5, Vienna 1993.
  • Andreas Beyer, Bénédicte Savoy, Wolf Tegethoff (Hg.): Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon. Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, Band LXXXIII, Berlin - New York 2014, S. 284.
  • Hans Vollmer (Hg.): Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Begründet von Ulrich Thieme und Felix Becker, Band XXII, Leipzig 1928, S. 435-436.
  • Otmar Rychlik (Hg.): Gustav Klimts Lehrer. 1876-1882. Sieben Jahre an der Kunstgewerbeschule, Ausst.-Kat., MAK - Museum of Applied Arts (Vienna), 03.11.2021–13.03.2022, Bad Vöslau 2021, S. 59-66.
  • Fremden-Blatt, 04.08.1871, S. 6.
  • Neue Freie Presse, 01.06.1878, S. 1.
  • Th. Frimmel: Ferdinand Laufberger, in: Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, 17. Jg. (1882), S. 261-272.