Jaeger Endowment

On Wednesday, 24th May 2017, at 11 am, George Jaeger, the son of the Austrian-American painter Frederick Jaeger (born Friedrich Jäger) gifted two of his father’s paintings to the Leopold Museum. They are the following works, which have been incorporated into the collection of the Leopold Museum bearing the inventory numbers LM 6027 and LM 6028.

Frederick Jaeger (Vienna 1895-1980 Kansas City), Georg, the Artist’s Son Aged Eight, 1934
Frederick Jaeger (Vienna 1895-1980 Kansas City), The Raven, 1928

 

The two paintings were presented by George Jaeger during a celebration at the Leopold Museum’s Klimt-Lounge to team leader Dr. Helmut Moser (Federal Ministry of Education), the chairman of the board of directors of the Leopold Museum Private Foundation, as well as to the Directors of the Leopold Museum, Mag. Hans-Peter Wipplinger (Artistic Director) and Mag. (FH) Gabriele Langer (Managing Director).

Hans-Peter Wipplinger: “We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. George Jaeger for donating two special paintings from his father’s oeuvre to the Leopold Museum. The works were created in 1928 and 1934, between the wars. This corresponds to the period that, along with the era of “Vienna around 1900”, is particularly well represented in the Leopold Collection.

Marking the occasion, the paintings were shown as part of the Leopold Museum’s permanent “Vienna 1900” presentation.

In connection with the endowment of the portrait of Georg Jäger aged eight, George Jaeger recalled that, 11 years later, he had probably been the first American GI to come to Vienna in search of his mother, whom he eventually found and took with him to the United States.

“… the little 8-year old boy in the portrait was most probably the first American GI in Vienna in the summer of 1945, long before the Americans officially arrived. I went there from our HQ in Pilsen, surviving multiple Soviet checkpoints and other adventures, in search of my mother who had spent the entire war alone in Vienna. I found her, and she eventually got the first visa to the US issued by the reopened American Embassy.”

Friedrich Jäger (Vienna 1895-1980 Kansas City)

The painter Friedrich Jäger (1895–1980), a native of Vienna, descended from a Jewish merchant family. During the last two years of World War I, Friedrich Jäger served his military service at the Italian front. Upon his return from the war, he married Emma Stachura and converted to Catholicism.

Studies at the Academy and work in Vienna

Between 1918 and 1926 he studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and subsequently worked as an art educator at several Viennese schools. In 1926, his son Georg was born. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Friedrich Jäger produced a rich body of artistic work, out of which stand exceptional portraits and printed illustrations. One particular focus of his work was illustrations for the popular magazine Bergland, which garnered considerable interest. Another great success was Friedrich Jäger’s book illustrations, notably those for the Höhlenkinder, a three-volume book for older children by the Austro-Bohemian writer Alois Tlučhoř, better known by his pseudonym Alois Theodor Sonnleitner, published between 1918 and 1920. The book was reprinted in Germany as recently as 2004, by Kosmos Verlag Stuttgart. Also by Alois Theodor Sonnleitner is another three-volume book for older children, the Koja Trilogy,published between 1922 and 1925, which was richly illustrated by Jäger. Topographical depictions for calendar sheets and postcards were further elements of Jäger’s repertoire, who exhibited his works at the Vienna Künstlerhaus and at the Secession.

Flight and emigration

After the National Socialists seized power in Austria in 1938, Jäger’s family was persecuted on racial grounds and his brother Paul was murdered at Dachau concentration camp. With the help of the British Quaker organization, Friedrich Jäger escaped first to Great Britain, and from there continued to travel to New York.

Life and work in the US

He soon gained an artistic foothold as a designer of postcards and gift items, before being appointed art professor in 1953 of the successful Hallmark company in Kansas City. After retiring from this occupation in 1970, Jäger remained artistically active. Friedrich Jäger died in Kansas City in 1980.

Oeuvre

Friedrich Jäger’s work created in Vienna during the 1920s and 1930s can be attributed to a style of art with certain affinities to the popular arts of the time. In this genre, realistic reproduction was given great importance in order to meet the audience’s taste for a high degree of pictorial precision. Jäger’s illustrations, in particular, often hover on the threshold of popular commercial art. Friedrich Jäger’s painting style is most comparable to that of his Viennese contemporaries Emil Beischläger, Anton Hula and Franz Windhager.

For further information on Friedrich Jäger, please visit the website www.jaegergallery.com

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