The Art of Heinrich Lefler

LeflerCalendar5

Heinrich Lefler (1863-1919) was arguably the finest of the Austrian artists who developed the Jugendstil at the fin de siècle. He was principally a scenic designer and in that capacity created sets for the Vienna Court Opera under the directorship of Gustav Mahler. He was also a pioneering illustrator. His work is characterized by sacred, chivalric, and fairy-tale themes.

In 1899 he designed the Österreichische Kalender Monatsbilder, a calendar in the Jugendstil, which endures as one of his masterpieces.

LeflerCalendar1

LeflerCalendar2

LeflerCalendar3

LeflerCalendar4

LeflerCalendar5

LeflerCalendar6

LeflerCalendar7

LeflerCalendar8

LeflerCalendar9

LeflerCalendar10

LeflerCalendar11

LeflerCalendar12

LeflerCalendar13

LeflerCalendar14

LeflerCalendar15

LeflerCalendar16

In 1900 Lefler founded an artist collective, the Hagenbund, with his brother-in-law Joseph Urban, a fellow stage designer and illustrator. Urban was also an architect. He designed, of all things, Mar-a-Lago. Lefler and Urban were frequent collaborators. They produced illustrations, sets, and public exhibitions, including a parade on the Ringstraße for the Emperor’s Diamond Jubilee in 1908. In 1900, Lefler and Urban created a beautiful illustrated edition of Die Buecher der Chronika der drei Schwestern (The Book of the Chronicles of the Three Sisters), a fairy tale by Johann Karl August Musäus.

LeflerChronicles1

LeflerChronicles2

LeflerChronicles3

LeflerChronicles4

LeflerChronicles5

LeflerChronicles7

LeflerChronicles8

LeflerChronicles13

Lefler followed up the Österreichische Monatsbilder with a fairy-tale calendar featuring one-off illustrations of Cinderella, The Frog Prince, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, The Goose Girl, Godfather Death, Hansel and Gretel, Mary’s Child, Rapunzel, Snow-White and Rose-Red, and The Six Swans. This was published in 1905 by Berger & Wirth of Leipzig.

LeflerFairytale1

LeflerFairytale2

LeflerFairytale3

LeflerFairytale4

LeflerFairytale5

LeflerFairytale6

LeflerFairytale7

LeflerFairytale8

LeflerFairytale9

LeflerFairytale10

LeflerFairytale11

LeflerFairytale12

In addition to his illustrations, many of Lefler’s theatrical designs survive. Harvard University owns the most substantial collection, which it acquired from Max Reinhardt. It is kept at Houghton Library.

For more on Leifler, see here.


2 thoughts on “The Art of Heinrich Lefler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s