Portrait Bust of Vinzenz Muchitsch Werner Seidl, 1935

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“Red” Graz

During the time of the First Republic, Vinzenz Muchitsch (1873–1942) was the mayor of Graz and established the city as a “red island” in predominantly Christian Social Styria. His political career began in the Hapsburg monarchy. Sympathizing with anarchist movements at first, he later turned to the reformist part of social democracy. In his term as Mayor of Graz, from 1919 until he was unseated by the authoritarian “Corporative State” regime in 1934, he promoted communal housing and the expansion of the city’s infrastructure following the model of Vienna.

Patinized plaster
44 × 22 × 24 cm
Graz Museum / Photo: Arno Friebes

The Artist Werner Seidl

After completing his art training, Werner Seidl (1914–1941) worked as a freelance artist in Graz from the mid-1930s. The young artist was particularly successful with portrait busts. In addition to Vinzenz Muchitsch, he portrayed, for example, the priest Johannes Ude. Moreover, he was commissioned to create a life-size monument to the authoritarian Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss. In 1934, Seidl created the “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart” bust in the City Park of Graz. He had already joined the NSDAP in 1930. During the Nazi era, he portrayed Adolf Hitler as well as important National Socialist officials. In 1941, Werner Seidl was killed on the Eastern Front as a 27-year-old Wehrmacht soldier.