Hauptmomente aus dem Leben Sr. Majestät Franz I. Kaisers von Oesterreich.
Series of 21 lithographs, ca. 700 x 500 mm each.
A complete set of this "extremely popular lithographic series" (cf. Telesko, p. 163) which was first announced in September 1831: originally, a total of twenty prints showing "principal moments" from the life of Emperor Franz II (I) were planned, to be issued at monthly or bi-monthly intervals. Even at this point early versions of the first and second plate were available, and the third would be published in October (cf. Wiener Zeitung 214 [29 Sept. 1831], p. 1214). From 1833 onwards, the title "Hauptmomente" was used (instead of the previous "Lebensmomente" or simply "Momente"), demonstrating that the present set was issued after this point. In what must have been a departure from the artists' original plan, the set was completed after Franz's death with two plates showing the Emperor on his death-bed, bidding his family farewell (the 20th leaf) and his burial in the crypt of the Augustinerkirche (the 21st and final leaf). Hoechle, the illustrator, died but months after Emperor Franz, and he is said to have sketched the latter scene on the spot and finished the drawing as one of his very last works. In commemoration, the lithographer Wolf added a portrait of his late colleage at the picture's far right, with his sketching portfolio under his arm. The original watercolours, measuring but a quarter of the lithographs' size, were part of the Imperial Fideikomissbibliothek until the early 20th century and now repose in the Albertina (cf. Huber-Frischeis, p. 472f.).
"Hoechle's suite offers a selection from the principal events in the life of the emperor, a mixture of ceremonial events (crownings), acts of charity, battles, triumphal entries, encounters with other monarchs, and homages by the estates [...] Wolf's series was instrumental in shaping the posthumous public image of the ruler by creating a canonical epic in pictures" (cf. Telesko, p. 191).
Dust- and waterstained, edges and margins limp and frayed, some tears (occasionally touching the caption). Rarely encountered complete with all plates, as here: only three incomplete sets traced in the last decades' auction records.
Wurzbach IX, 91. Huber-Frischeis/Knieling/Valenta, Die Privatbibliothek Kaiser Franz' I. von Österreich 1784-1835 (2015), p. 472-483. Telesko, Geschichtsraum Österreich I, p. 163, 191 & passim.