The elusive Alexander Rothaug (1870-1946), the Viennese painter who rendered myth a reality while his own life remains opaque.
Who was Alexander Rothaug? Why isn’t he equally as famous as some of his fellow Austrian contemporaries? Information on him is scant, just the bare bones of a life. He’s as mythological as his subject matter.
Rothaug (1870-1946), is yet another of those painters that was born into it. He almost didn’t have a choice. Art was the family business. Rothaug’s maternal ancestors were painters and sculptors and he received his first painting lessons from his father Theodor along with his older brother Leopold who also became a painter. Rothaug began an apprenticeship as a sculptor in 1884, which he gave up only a year later to study painting at Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts. After his studies, Rothaug moved to Munich for several years, working for the satirical magazine Fliegende Blätter (Flying Leafs).
In 1897 he returned to Vienna as a freelance painter. Among other things he worked as a stage designer and frequently went on study trips to Dalmatia, Italy and the German Island of Rügen. He began to regularly exhibit his works and created several monumental ceiling and wall paintings based on his experiences as a stage painter. In 1912 he went to Mallorca, Spain at the invitation of Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria-Tuscany and published “Sketches from Miramar” on his stay there. In 1933 Rothaug published a loose-leaf collection of 10 sheets entitled “Statics and Dynamics of the Human Body”, a theory on proportions of the human body.