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Homage to Prof. Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel



At this time, Prof. Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel discovered the sensitive eight-year old, Franco Thamér (the boy in the middle at the back) and made him his assistant. Time and again, Franco Thamér was drawn to nature, where he gained a sense of well-being and self-confidence. He would often remain there over night, sleeping on the soft moss in the surrounding forests – with the result that the wild animals would occasionally come very close. Since he returned frequently, the animals soon learned to trust him.

Being a gifted portrayer of animals, he would often set off to the zoo with his easel, aiming to satisfy his perfectionist demands on his art by studying real animals. With inner images of my countless excursions and my overnight stays on soft moss beneath the trees in the open air of my native country, my first visit to the zoo seemed - from my very first visit onwards - artificial and very limited. Fascinated by descriptions of my experiences in the wild, Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel began to divine a more impressive difference in his experience of nature.

He accepted my invitation (I was only a child at the time) and, on a wonderful summer afternoon, allowed me to show him, for the very first time, a variety of animals in places familiar to me at the foot of the Karawanken Mountains. He was thus able to gain a wealth of authentic impressions of animals living in the wild and to draw them quite close up in the open countryside. He always referred to me as his “gift” from Mother Nature.

It was also he, who, when I first dreamed of becoming an artist, confirmed me in my very special sense of form and colour. He encouraged me to keep painting and, in the future, to work painstakingly on my artistic talent. I am eternally grateful to him for the vital and lasting impulses he gave me for my artistic oeuvre. His spirit, evident in the intensely experienced occasions we shared under the sign of the artistic perception of nature, lives on in me to this day.

Franco Thamér

Prof. Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel


It was up here that Prof. Ludwig Jungnickel had his studio, and where Franco Thamér worked for a few years as assistant.

“Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel was born in Wundsiedel in Oberfranken in 1881. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (school of arts and crafts) in Munich and subsequently spent a year in Italy. In 1898, he travelled to Vienna after his curiosity was awoken by the founding of the Secession. There, Jungnickel resumed his studies under Christian Griepenkerl at the Academy of Fine Arts and under Alfred Roller at the School of Applied Arts.

After a short period of teaching at the School of Arts and Crafts in Frankfurt am Main, Jungnickel he felt the desire to return to Vienna, where, having actually made a name for himself as an “animal painter”, he designed textiles, wallpaper and postcards at the Vienna Workshops. He died in Vienna in 1965.

He also worked for the Wiener Gobelinmanufaktur, which made tapestries, and for the Backhausen company, where he designed patterns for fabrics and carpets. Together with Gustav Klimt, he furnished the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, whose children’s room contained, among other things, an animal frieze by Jungnickel“

Source: An entry on Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel in the database “Gedächtnis des Landes”: on the history of the State of Lower Austria (Landesmuseum Niederösterreich)

Jungnickel in the City Hotel in Villach

Franco Thamér in the City-Hotel in Villach, his home town. Here, he felt as if he were transported back to the days of his childhood.

The boss, Karin Strickner, gave the artist Prof. Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel space in the entire stairwell.

A big thank you to Karin Strickner and here entire team, who fulfilled Franco Thamér’s every wish during his regular visits there.