* 1846 Wien
† 1903 Wien
The Austrian painter Carl Schuch was born son of an upper class family in Vienna in 1846. Schuch decided to become a painter at the young age of thirteen and received first lessons in painting. From 1865 to 1867 he attended the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and studied under Karl Wurzinger and Karl Mayer. From 1867 to 1869 he was an apprentice to the Viennese landscape painter Ludwig Halauska who taught him sound technical skills.
After he had completed his training he left Vienna. For the coming 25 years, from 1869 to 1894, his life was dominated by restless journeys through Europe in search of landscape motifs and encounters with art. The beginning was made by a nearly one-year trip through Italy in 1869/70, with stops at classic Grand Tour places. The painter Albert Lang, whom he had met in Venice at the beginning of the trip, became his travel companion.
In 1871 Carl Schuch met Wilhelm Trübner in Munich. He became the artist‘s closest friend and had decisive influence on his artistic development. Together they went on field trips through Bavarian landscapes in order to paint in front of nature. Schuch was also in close contact with Wilhelm Leibl, following his advice Trübner, Lang and Schuch decided to share a studio in Munich.
In summer 1873 Carl Schuch became acquainted with Karl Hagemeister. The two artists soon started for Dresden where they studied the masterpieces at the New Painting Gallery. This was also where they visited the collection of the wealthy merchant Johann Meyer. It was the first time that Carl Schuch saw works by Eugène Delacroix, Camille Corot, Charles-François Daubigny and Théodore Rousseau. The two painters continued their journey to Brussels, where they shared a studio which would also serve as basis for numerous trips to Antwerp, The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
In 1876 Schuch broke with his artist friend Wilhelm Trübner, not in dispute but because Schuch feared that the influence on his own artistic creation might become too strong. 1876 was also the year that Schuch made his first still life with apples, which he exhibited at the Munich Kunstverein. Painting still lives would henceforth play a key role in the artist‘s late period of creation.
Carl Schuch continued to travel a lot, even though he had a studio in Paris from 1882 to 1894, spending the summer months on the French-Swiss border in the surroundings of the waterfall Saut du Doubs. Apart from these sojourns, the years in the studio in Paris were of decisive impact for the heyday of his still life painting. As he noted in his diaries, Carl Schuch was intensively occupied with French painters, first and foremost Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet and Claude Monet.
In the early 1890s first signs of a severe disease began to show. By 1894 the undiagnosed illness had progressed to a point where Carl Schuch had to give up painting, so that there is no proof of any paintings made after that point, only a few drawings came into existence.
During his lifetime Carl Schuch‘s acclaim as painter was largely limited to his closer friends. His parent‘s wealth made sure that Schuch remained financially independent for all his life, which explains why he did not have to rely on sales and exhibitions as source of income. His widow began to sell his paintings, studies and drawings only after his death, largely with the help of his friend Wilhelm Trübner and through the two Berlin art traders Eduard Schulte and Karl Haberstock. His accomplishments were only acknowledged after his death, today Carl Schuch is considered Austria‘s most important painter on the eve of Impressionism. In 1903 Carl Schuch died at his hometown Vienna, he was buried on the Vienna Central Cemetery.