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Victor Hammer

May 20 – June 19, 1948


Victor Hammer was born in Vienna on December 9, 1882. He ascribes many of the characteristics of his later art to childhood impressions received from the picturesque old section of Vienna in which he grew up. Early in his school days he was more interested in drawing than in his homework. At the age of fifteen years he entered the class of Camillo Sitte at the Industrial Arts School in Vienna. He transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1898, where he studied under the painters C. Griepenkerl and H. Lefler, and the sculptors Hellmer, Bitterlich and Hanak. He left the Academy in 1908 with a government traveling fellowship, and went to Munich and Paris. In 1910 he became active in Vienna, primarily as a portrait painter. He gave exhibitions in Berlin, Munich and Vienna. Within a few years later, in 1913, he became a member of the Viennese Sesession. War claimed his services in 1914, his first four months in combat service, but followed with the remainder years as war artist, at times in Constantinople. From 1917 to 1918 Mr. Hammer took on new studies in Vienna under the architect Heinrich Tessenow. In 1922 he settled in Florence where, besides his activities as painter, he began printing books in an uncial type which he designed in 1928 (Stamperia del Santuccio). Further activities took him on trips to London and the United States in 1932. In 1933 he went to Paris. He transferred his press in 1934 to Kolbsheim in Alsace, where he built and completely furnished a chapel. He became director of the Schule fur Freie und Strenge Kunste, at Grundlsee in Austria, in 1936. Two years later, Victor Hammer joined the Academy of Fine Arts at Wells College, Aurora-on-Cayuga, New York, where he founded the Wells College Press. He became a citizen of the United States. Recently the Austrian Government has invited him to return to the Academy in Vienna.

His pictures and drawings are mostly owned by his patrons. A number are in public collection, as in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Albertina in Vienna, the Printroom in Dresden, and others.

This text was published in the exhibition catalogue.

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