* 1843 Schwaz/Tirol
† 1927 München
The Austrian painter Joseph Wopfner was born in the Tyrolean town of Schwaz in 1843. After he had completed an apprenticeship at his father‘s bakery he went to Munich in 1860, where he was active as lithographer and interior painter. From 1864 to 1872 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under, among others, Carl von Piloty and Eduard Schleich the Elder. The latter gave him decisive impetus to plein-air painting. During his time at the academy Wopfner and Wilhelm Leibl became close friends. In 1872 Joseph Wopfner moved into his own studio on Landwehrstraße in Munich. The painter spent the summer months on the island Frauenchiemsee and painted the landscape around Chiemsee. In 1873 Joseph Wopfner was one of the co-founders of the Munich artist group Allotria. He was represented with the two paintings “Kartoffelernte“ and “Motiv am Chiemsee“ in the group‘s first annual exhibition.
Joseph Wopfner‘s calm and atmospheric landscapes show the School of Barbizon as source of inspiration, first and foremost the ‘Paysages intimes‘ of Camille Corot. Wopfner discovered the landscape around Chiemsee and the entire Chiemgau region as an inexhaustible source of motifs. Views of Chiemsee with boats and fishermen are characteristic of Joseph Wopfner‘s entire oeuvre. In many cases he altered the subjects just slightly and often even repeated popular motifs.
The numerous accolades the painter received in his lifetime are documents of Joseph Wopfner‘s recognition. In 1885 he became honorary citizen of his birthplace Schwaz, in 1886 of the island Frauenchiemsee. In 1897 the State of Bavaria decorated him with the Order of Saint Michael. In 1896 the Academy of Fine Arts appointed him honorary member, additionally, he was appointed to a post as professor in 1888. Wopfner won the gold medal at the Munich ‘Glaspalast‘ exhibition in 1890. In 1914 he adopted Bavarian citizenship. Joseph Wopfner died in Munich in 1927.