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Josef Danhauser - Buy or sell works

18 August 1805, Vienna (Austria) - 4 May 1845, Vienna (Austria)

Josef Danhauser is one of the most noteworthy painters, illustrators, sculptors and furniture designers of the Biedermeier period in Vienna. He was known for the dramatic design and colouration of his works.

Josef Danhauser was born 1805 in Vienna as the oldest son of the sculptor and furniture manufacturer Joseph Ulrich Danhauser and his wife Johanna Lambert. He enrolled at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts near St. Anna in 1820, where he studied historical painting under Johann Peter Krafft. Study trips took him to Venice, Trieste, Prague and Eger, where he received a number of commissions from the Archbishop and poet Ladislaus Pyrker. In 1827, he and Johann Matthias Ranftl created the death mask for Ludwig van Beethoven in Vienna. A painting of his deathbed was also produced. He took over his parent’s factory in 1829 and from then on concentrated mainly on designing furniture, which significantly influenced Viennese fashions during this period.

Records suggest that Josef Danhauser did not return to painting until 1832, but his principal oeuvre was produced in the following years. Works by William Hogarth had a significant influence on Danhauser’s art. He turned his attention to genre painting, which absorbed socially critical and representative elements of haute bourgeoisie, sometimes displaying satirical aspects. He was then appointed examiner and later on professor for historical painting at the Vienna Academy. Despite his professional success, however, the contemporary press poured scorn on his work, also due to its 'moral tub thumping by artistic means'. As a sculptor, Josef Danhauser initially produced gilt bronze fittings based on woodcuts.

It was during this period that he married Josephine Streit, daughter of a physician, with whom he had three children. He resigned from his position as professor for historical painting in 1842 following a dispute, and embarked on prolonged travels with the art patron Rudolf von Arthaber, which took him to north Germany and Holland. The impressions he acquired on these journeys were reflected in a widely acclaimed exhibition of 1844.

Josef Danhauser died of typhus 1845 in Vienna, aged 39.

Works by Josef Danhauser have regularly generated significant attention at Dorotheum auctions. His 1841 painting The Family Concert sold for €40,965 on 27 April 2017.

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