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Collection of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Rudolf von Alt

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Rudolf von Alt was from a family of talented and prolific Viennese artists who excelled at architecture and landscape subjects. He studied first with his father, Jakob Alt, and received formal training from 1825 to 1832 at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, where he was later a member. In 1832, his work earned him a prize, which freed him from military service and allowed him to devote himself fully to art. Like his brother, Alt traveled extensively, visiting areas of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and, beginning as early as 1834, exhibited works he had made during these trips in Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Dresden, and Paris. He was commissioned by Czar Alexander II in 1863 to execute views of the imperial residences in the Crimea. The Lanckoronski watercolors are two of a series of ten completed for a commission by Count Karol Lanckoronski (1848–1933) of his residence prior to the construction of the Palais Lanckoronski in 1894–95. A well-known and soughtafter artist, Alt was ennobled in 1882, and in 1897 was nominated honorary president of the Vienna Secession by Gustav Klimt. (JGK)