Important People

Artists and scholars have always liked to visit Perchtoldsdorf to seek inspiration for their creative work in the delightful scenery or to recharge their batteries far from the hustle and bustle of big-city life. In the course of its eventful history, Perchtoldsdorf has welcomed many important people. Some have stayed only for a short while; others have stayed forever and liked to call it their home by affinity, if not by birth.

Duchess Beatrix von Zollern

The first great “local woman” one encounters when browsing through the town’s history is Duchess Beatrix von Zollern, wife to Duke Albrecht III. From 1386 until her death in 1414, she held the reins of Perchtoldsdorf and was its great benefactress. It was thanks to her initiative that Perchtoldsdorf was granted a town fair-holding privilege. It was issued in 1400 by Albrecht IV, the son of the duchess who was widowed in 1395. With the foundation of the community hospital and the attached Infirmary Church, which still exists today, Beatrix created her own lasting memorial in the town.

Thomas Ebendorfer

Thomas Ebendorfer (1388 - 1464) "from Haselbach", as he was named for his birthplace Haselbach im Rohrwald, could well be called the first great “local man”. At a time when universities were not only wellsprings of learning but also influenced political tendencies, the rectors and deans of the University of Vienna were men of great power.

Rector for the first time at the age of 36, Thomas Ebendorfer had 15 terms as dean of the department of theology. Apart from his comprehensive teaching – he lectured on topics such as Latin grammar, mathematics, science and philosophy, but also, of course, on theology and Canon law – he was considered a major historiographer who left invaluable source records for future historians with his historical works "Chronica Austriae", a chronicle of the Roman emperors up until the mid-15th century, and a church history of Passau. As of 1432 he was the official representative of the University of Vienna at the Council of Basle and was involved in the peace negotiations with the Hussites.

In additions to his numerous other activities, Ebendorfer was also in charge of the parish of Perchtoldsdorf as of 1435. His work there coincided with a heyday of late-medieval ecclesiastical life in the town. Under his auspices, the gothic extension of the church was completed with the construction of the central nave. The influential man used his contacts and succeeded in getting privileges for the parish that it was never to regain.

Ebendorfer was buried in the parish church of Perchtoldsdorf. His tombstone has been preserved and is displayed at the Peel tower (in Nikolauskapelle).

Thomas Ebendorfer von Haselbach (1388 - 1464). Gelehrter/Diplomat/Pfarrer von Perchtoldsdorf. Katalog zur Ausstellung anläßlich der 600. Wiederkehr des Geburtstages von Thomas Ebendorfer.
Perchtoldsdorf 1988.

Joseph Hyrtl

The famous anatomist Joseph Hyrtl (1810 - 1894) was one of the great figures of the medical school of Vienna. In Perchtoldsdorf, where he spent the last two decades of his life, he is still admired as a “philanthropist” and benefactor who funded numerous social services.

Born on 7 December 1810 as the son of an oboist at the Court Orchestra of Prince Esterhazy in Eisenstadt, he came to Vienna as a member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir, studied medicine and graduated in 1835. For several years he held the anatomy chair at the University of Prague. In 1845 he took over the anatomy chair in Vienna. In 1850, Hyrtl established the "Museum of comparative anatomy” and extended the “Museum of Human Anatomy” founded by van Swieten in 1745. The collections of this internationally renowned scientist initiated systematic research in this area. He supplied anatomy departments all over the world with his preparations for which he developed new injection processes (corrosion technique). In 1874, Joseph Hyrtl retired because of declining eyesight. Together with his wife, the poet Auguste Hyrtl, he withdrew to the home in Perchtoldsdorf at Kirchengasse 1 (now Hyrtlgasse 1) that he had acquired in 1869. There he continued his research activities until shortly before his death on 17 July 1894. In his later years he mainly devoted his attention to the development of medical technical language. Two of his well-known publications worth mentioning are the Lehrbuch der Anatomie des Menschen (Textbook of human anatomy, 1846) and the two-volume Handbuch der topographischen Anatomie (Handbook of topographical anatomy, 1847).

The anatomist of world renown, who had been made an honorary citizen in 1875, devoted his great wealth to charitable purposes and institutions. Among other things he made it possible for the town to establish a Kinderbewahranstalt (today Kindergarten Hochstraße 28) and to extend the Infirmary Hospital. Hyrtl’s philanthropist attitude is perhaps best expressed in the orphanage foundation of Mödling that he established.

In 1991, a comprehensive monograph of Hyrtl was published: Gasser/Mitterwenger/Karanitsch, Der Anatom Joseph Hyrtl 1810 - 1894. Perchtoldsdorf 1991.

Alfred Merz

Perchtoldsdorf-born natural scientist Alfred Merz (1880 - 1925), head of the Institute of Marine Science in Berlin, was one of the greatest oceanographers of his time. He died in Buenos Aires during a surveying expedition to the South Atlantic and was buried in Perchtoldsdorf.

Franz Steindachner

One of the greatest zoologists specialising in ichthyology (study of fishes), Franz Steindachner (1834 - 1919) is still a famous name in science. Steindachner, who happened to have been a student of Hyrtl’s, was the director of the Zoological Department of Vienna’s Naturhistorisches Museum. Expeditions took him to North and South America, all over Europe and Asia Minor. His name is linked to the scientific processing of the material resulting from the Novarra or Hassler expeditions. He himself headed several expeditions, including the "1st Red Sea Expedition" of the transport steamer Pola. Franz Steindachner lies buried in the cemetery of Perchtoldsdorf.

Christoph Willibald Gluck

Not only scientists, but also musicians feel drawn to Perchtoldsdorf. It is known, for instance, that the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714 - 1787), an innovator and reformer of dramatic opera, acquired the house at Wiener Gasse 22. The composer spent the summer months of his last years in the country house surrounded by a large garden. Reportedly, he also encountered Haydn and Mozart here. Only shortly before his death, Gluck abandoned his domicile in Perchtoldsdorf.

Franz Schubert

Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828) was a frequent guest at the home of schoolmaster and composer Ambros Rieder (1771 - 1855). From a letter W. A. Mozart (1756 - 1791) wrote to his wife Konstanze, we know that he at least occasionally visited his son Carl in Perchtoldsdorf. At the time, Carl Mozart attended the boarding school of Wenzel Bernardin Heeger in Wiener Gasse 30-32.

Hugo Wolf

From 1888 to 1896, the great Lied composer Hugo Wolf (1860 - 1903) spent several winter months in the home of the Werner family at Brunner Gasse 26. It was here that he composed no less than 116 songs, among them the wonderful music for the poems of Mörike, the Spanisches Liederbuch, the second part of the Italienisches Liederbuch and parts of his opera Der Corregidor.

Heinrich Werner, son of the house’s owner and a well-known stock broker like his father, was the faithful chronicler of the life and work of the composer in his favourite resort. In Perchtoldsdorf, Hugo Wolf enjoyed phases of veritable creative entrancement before mental illness put an early stop to his work.

In 1973, the local authority of Perchtoldsdorf established a Hugo Wolf-Museum in the house at Brunner Gasse 26.

Franz Schmidt

It was in 1926 that Franz Schmidt (1874 - 1939), a renowned organ composer who got to know and love Perchtoldsdorf already in his youth, acquired the Villa at Lohnsteinstraße 4 where he lived until his death. For many years Schmidt was a cellist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, he taught at the music academy and was appointed rector of the University of Music and the Performing Arts from 1927 until 1931.

In Perchtoldsdorf, he pursued his work as a composer. He was an important representative of the transition phase between late Romanticism and Modernism, recognised for his wealth of musical ideas and his subtle technical mastery.

Operas: Notre Dame, 1914 (of which particularly the prelude of the 3rd act is known); Fredigundis, 1922.
Oratorio: Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln, 1935-37.
4 symphonies, numerous works for organ and piano, chamber music.

Hans Fronius

One of Perchtoldsdorf’s particularly high-calibre “local figures by affinity” was the painter Hans Fronius (1903 - 1988). Apart from paintings and drawings he also created an impressive oeuvre of prints.

Born in 1903 in Sarajevo, Fronius is one of the seminal representatives of the Austrian version of Expressionism, which also calls to mind names such as Oskar Kokoschka and Herbert Boeckl. As an internationally renowned creator of woodcuts, lithographs and etchings, Fronius left behind an incredibly diverse oeuvre. A catalogue issued during the artist’s lifetime lists almost 1000 prints. The number of his drawings (illustrations, theatre sketches, townscapes and landscapes, imaginary portraits, biblical themes, and others) is virtually limitless.

Since Fronius lived in Perchtoldsdorf from 1961 until his death in 1988, the local authority honoured his memory by establishing the above mentioned exhibition, which can only display a minuscule fraction of his giant oeuvre. Visitors will find mainly chalk drawings of Perchtoldsdorf, complemented by important lithographs on the theme of “historical townscapes”. A selection of the Capriccios cycle issued in 1980 serves to demonstrate the artist’s consummate mastery of drypoint etching.

Other artists and writers

The beauties of Perchtoldsdorf also appealed to many writers and visual artists, including Franz Grillparzer (1791 - 1872), who spent the summer of 1846 at the house at Wiener Gasse 9. The sculptor Viktor Tilgner (1844 - 1896), creator of the Mozart monument in Vienna, was a long-standing summer guest in Perchtoldsdorf, and the Alt painters’ family liked to spend their summer holidays here. In 1838, Jakob Alt (1789 - 1872) painted the Perchtoldsdorfer Fronleichnamsprozession (Corpus Christi procession), and his son Rudolf created a painting of the market square in 1891.

Eccentric in appearance with his long, flopping hair and slouch hat, the writer. Alois Th. Tluchor (1869 - 1939) became known under his pseudonym Alois Th. Sonnleitner mainly for his trilogy Die Höhlenkinder which was translated into many languages. In his home at Walzengasse 26 he set up a small museum where he liked to receive school classes.