Franz Xavier Kosler (Austrian, 1905)

Timeline

Franz Kosler was born in Vienna on 16th August 1864. His artistic career began in 1881 when he joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. From 1884-1885 he studied under the leading Orientalist Leopold Carl Müller (1834-1892), whose influence can be seen in Kosler's paintings, particularly his genre scenes and portraits of young Orientals.
In 1886 Kosler toured Dalmatia, Montenegro and Albania, and in 1892, encouraged by Müller, he made the first of several visits to Egypt. Over the next few years Kosler often spent the winter in Egypt and his first collective exhibition was held in Cairo. This brought him rapid fame and success, and several portrait commissions including one from Prince Said Halim Pasha, grandson of Mehemet Ali Pasha, and the future Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. This Egyptian Prince also bought other works by Kosler including one entitled ‘Fellaheen with Child’. Kosler returned to Egypt in the winter months of 1895 and in the same year painted two portraits of Archduke Ferdinand Karl in Vienna. In 1896 he painted the portrait of Countess Palfy-Schilippenback.
Whilst in Cairo, Kosler met many wealthy English art collectors and exhibited two paintings of Egyptian scenes at the Royal Academy in London, "Vegetable Sellers, Cairo" and "The Blind Beggar". The appearance of his works at the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1906, shortly after his death, demonstrates Kosler's popularity amongst the English public. Even today, many of his paintings are owned by private English collectors.
As well as exhibiting in England, Kosler exhibited for the first time in Vienna in 1895 and became a member of the Society of Artist Painters in 1901. He went on to participate regularly in the Viennese salons for the next few years. He also exhibited at the Munich Glass Palace in 1899. Kosler's death on 15th December 1905 put an end to a promising career.
Kosler's style is very reminiscent of his teacher, Müller, in his technical mastery and skilful representation of light. Kosler’s style may also be likened to Arthur Ferraris, also an Austrian Orientalist. He painted in clear colours with close attention to detail. All figures in his work are treated with the same technique and ability that he applied to his beautifully executed portraits.