Krepp, Friedrich (1829- Aft. 1872)

Krepp, Friedrich (1829- Aft. 1872)

Austrian artist Friedrich Krepp produced many an elegantly executed and delicately colourised portrait or history scene during his career. Despite very little information remaining about his life, his masterful pictures are a resounding legacy.

Krepp was the son of engraver Ignaz Krepp (1801-1853), who oftentimes depicted figures of royalty and prominence, such as Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. It could be possible the father rubbed off on the son, for Krepp’s oeuvre also contains a selection of portraits of prominent Austrian figures. From Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916) and his wife Elizabeth, Duchess of Bavaria (1837-1898), to composer Joseph Lanner (1801-1843), Krepp depicted his sitters with gentility and refinement.

There is an elegant wash across Krepp’s works, in the creamy quality of skin, in the slick smoothness of hair. Clothing, too, is always crisp and richly coloured, the decorous crush of velvet captured, the gentle folds of cotton creasing characteristically. His female figures have an aesthetic pleasantness very in line with views on femininity in the 19th century. His male figures have a deportment of respectability.

Royalty remains a key focus of his history paintings, too. A scene depicting Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519) being rescued from the sheer drop of the Martin Wall by a peasant boy is given a classical gravitas, very popular in the mid-19th century. His figures are posed with elegance, the emperor a sure and steady figure, despite his life-threatening surroundings. A gloriously saturated sunrise is awakening in the background, yellow light diffusing into the deep azure of the dying night.

Krepp was knowingly active in Vienna from 1852-1862, where he would exhibit regularly with the Austrian Art Association. There is evidence to suggest that he had ties to the Academy of Fine Arts in the city. A poem, which appears to be by Krepp, published in 1848, is dedicated to his ‘fellow National Guardsmen.’ There were tempestuous rumblings of revolution within Austria at this time, and it seems as if Krepp joined a guard compromising of himself and his artistic peers at the Academy.

He speaks of his regret that they should be called to fight: ‘the hands that are supposed to create the most beautiful things are now provided, alas with death weapons.’ There is also a great sense of determination to his words, however, a resolve: ‘art, if it is to perish, we want to perish and die with it. No, it will not perish.’ The many works which would follow this tempestuous time seem to point to Krepp’s fulfilment of this promise.

Today, an example of his work is held in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.


Born in Vienna, Austria.


Exhibited frequently at the Austrian Art Association.

After 1872

Died in Vienna, Austria.

Stay In Touch
Subscribe to our Wednesday newsletter for the latest finds and 10% off your order.