Franz Lerch

(Wien 1895 - 1977 New York)
Franz Lerch studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from 1919-27 with Josef Jungwirth, Karl Sterrer and Alois Delug. In the years from 1927-38 he was one of the most prominent members of the Hagenbund. Numerous prizes and honours were bestowed upon the artist during this period. He was awarded the Austrian State Prize several times and in 1931 the City of Vienna Prize. In the autumn exhibition at the Künstlerhaus in 1932 he was represented by two works. As his wife was in danger from the Nazi regime, he was forced to emigrate to New York in 1938. In the years that followed there were numerous exhibitions of his work in the United States. In May 1945 a collective exhibition of his work was held at the Lilienfeld Gallery in New York. In 1958 an exhibition at the Vienna Secession of the work of both Franz Lerch and Franz von Zülow rekindled memories of these artists in the minds of the Viennese. Yet it was not until 1974 that he was given the title of professor. Franz Lerch’s paintings from the 1920s and 30s exemplify the development of Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). In 1975 the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere and the Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien organized a joint exhibition of Franz Lerch’s work to mark his eightieth birthday.

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