Page 15

THE COUR T PAINTER OF AUSTRIA, ITALY AND SIAM Josef Karl Rädler was a master porcelain painter before being committed to an asylum, from where his paintings were saved and went on to intrigue Leo Navratil By FERDINAND ALTNÖDER


e called himself “Court Painter of Austria, Italy around the world. His firm took part in the world and Siam” and also a “laughing philosopher”. He exhibitions of Vienna (1873) and Paris (1878), and was was a pacifist, preached a healthy way of living awarded numerous medals, certificates and national and painted untiringly. The Austrian Josef Karl Rädler awards. It designed porcelain services for the Rothschild (1844–1917) was a contemplative and, at the same time, family; Rädler’s products were donated by Archduke difficult person. From the age of 50 to the end of his life Rainer to the South Kensington Museum – today the he lived in lunatic asylums, as they were then called. 50 Victoria and Albert Museum – in London. e firm’s years after his death, between 800 and 900 of his drawings products were nostalgic imitations of an old Viennese style were saved from the rubbish bin. and a historicism of the former Viennese Porcelain Factory “I was fascinated”, Prof. Dr Leo Navratil from around 1800, as well as of designs by painter Angelika (1921–2006) wrote in his book on Josef Karl Rädler, Kaufmann (1741–1807) and the pompous style of painter when in 1972 a nurse offered him some of Rädler’s Hans Makart (1840–1884). e Viennese liked them, and drawings. It was only 20 they were in great demand for years later that Prof. Navratil export. Occasionally, objects It is madness to walk with an made by Rädler & Pilz turn up found the time to attend to Rädler’s work. He had umbrella – a bath brings life! on the art market and in meanwhile gained his Lunacy is any idle talk... auctions. However, it is currently reputation as an author on unknown what Rädler’s own Art Brut and as discoverer of porcelain-painting looks like. the Gugging artists. Analysing Rädler’s medical files, Rädler was married, and of his eight children four Navratil wrote a catalogue for Rädler’s exhibition in St died when they were still young. The dramatic change Pölten, Lower Austria, 1994, so far the one and only – that took place in his life happened in 1893. Upon his and therefore the authoritative – source of information family’s initiative, when he was nearly 50 years old, on the work of this unique artist. Rädler was committed to a private mental home in Josef Karl Rädler was born in 1844 in the Lainz/Vienna, and shortly afterwards transferred to the Bohemian town of Falkenau. Today, it is called Sokolov asylum “Pilgerhain” in Vienna. In 1905, Rädler was and is situated in the Czech Republic. He moved to committed to the “Kaiser Franz Josef Landes Heil- und Vienna when he was 23 years old and became a master Pflegeanstalt” in Mauer-Öhling, a village situated between porcelain painter. Together with Robert Pilz, he founded Vienna and Linz. A “circular psychosis with manic states of excitation” was attested to by the doctors in the Vienna the “Artistische Atelier für Porzellanmalerei Rädler & asylum. He was characterised as being “grumpy, foolish, Pilz” in 1872, one of the most important enterprises in rude, arrogant, and stubborn”. He was hospitalised there this field. Rädler’s studio had branches and storerooms until his death in 1917. Viennese antiquarian bookseller and art dealer Dr Look here, descendants, my self portrait! Hurray! Hansjörg Krug discovered the following notes that Rädler 1911/12 had made in 1909 on the drawings he produced in tempera and watercolour on paper asylums: “My wife became unfaithful to me. I stood in 16.8 x 11.2 ins., 42.8 x 28.6 cm the way of two gallants (a senior civil servant and a courtesy Galerie Altnöder, Salzburg



Raw Vision 79  
Raw Vision 79  

International journal of outsider art, folk art, visionary art and Art Brut.