Franz Richard Unterberger – Austrian painter

Franz Richard Unterberger – Austrian painter

Franz Richard Unterberger – Austrian painter

Franz Richard Unterberger is an award-winning Tyrolean artist from the 19th century renowned for his romantic landscape paintings. Unterberger’s most famous works are of the Norwegian landscape and the Italian coast. He was very successful during his own lifetime, selling most of his paintings at exhibitions.

His work was famous for its subtle but visible atmospheric qualities while retaining all the realistic detail of the figures and forms contained within.

His paintings were collected by both the Archduke Karl Ludwig as well as Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria — two of the most prominent members of European royalty at the time — and he was the most famous and successful Tyrolean painter of his generation. Unterberger died in 1902 in Neuilly-sur-Seine in France, and was buried in his family vault at Innsbruck.


Franz Unterberger was born in 1837 in Innsbruck in Austria. His father was an art dealer and Unterberger grew up with an active familiarity with the trade of art. He attended the model Normal School in Innsbruck before joining the commercial academy in Munich.

He finally enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 1853, studying under Clemens von Zimmerman and Julian Long. In 1858, he followed Long to Milan where the former was instructing the Archduchess Charlotte of Belgium, but was forced to return to Munich the next year with the outbreak of the Second Italian War of Independence.

In 1959, he traveled to Dusseldorf to study at the Academy of Fine Arts there. It is there that he met the Achenbach brothers whose landscape paintings had a profound impact on him.

In 1860, he traveled to Norway, painting landscapes and meeting other Scandinavian painters associated with the Academy in Dusseldorf. Throughout this period, Unterberger traveled and painted both at home in Innsbruck and abroad as he toured Denmark, England and Scotland.

Around this time, at the suggestion of one of his teachers, he also began to use ‘Richard’ as a middle name. In 1862, the Archduke Karl Ludwig of Austria bought one of his landscapes — a major honor. In 1864, Unterberger graduated from the Academy and moved to Brussels to pursue a career in art.

The Work

Unterberger’s career took off almost from the very start. Within a few years of his graduation, his paintings of Southern France and Italy aroused a great deal of interest at exhibitions in Vienna, London, Paris, Munich, Brussels and Berlin, as well as in Boston on the other side of the Atlantic.

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