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
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 (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
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
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.
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.
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
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 (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
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.
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.
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.