DANHAUSER, Josef Franz
(b. 1805, Wien, d. 1845, Wien)


Painter and designer, part of an Austrian family of artists, son of Josef Ulrich Danhauser, a furniture manufacturer. He was first taught drawing by his father and then studied history painting at the Vienna Akademie (1820-26). On leaving the Akademie he took up an invitation from his patron, the Archbishop of Eger in Hungary, László Pyrker, to visit Venice; he spent five months there and paid particular attention to the work of the Old Masters. When he returned to Vienna, Danhauser was under great pressure from his family to become more involved in the running of the furniture factory, but Pyrker invited him to Eger with a commission to paint a number of portraits and to restore paintings in the gallery of the Archbishop's Palace.

On his father's death in 1829, however, Danhauser returned to Vienna, where for several years he was effectively head of the factory. He returned to Erlau in 1833 when commissioned to paint the altarpiece for the new cathedral, the Martyrdom of St John (1834-35; in situ). The religious paintings that followed established his reputation: the Expulsion of Hagar (1836; Vienna, Belvedere), for example, was awarded a prize by the Akademie. In 1838 he accepted the post of Korrektor of history painting at the Akademie, although he was outspoken in his criticism of both the inadequate curriculum and the unimaginative approach to teaching there.

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