Austrian History as a Graphic Narrative

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Peter Johann Nepomuk Geiger (1805-1880), Peter Joh. Nep. Geiger’s historische Original-Handzeichnungen bestehend in neunzig Blättern mit einem erklärenden Texte (Peter Joh. Nep. Geiger’s original historic drawings consisting in ninety leaves with an explanatory text) Herausgegeben von Anton Ziegler. [Vienna, 1861.] 6 vols, First edition, privately printed. Graphic Arts Collection 2013- in process

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Using linear visual narratives, Gieger chronicles Austrian history from the Middle Ages to Archduchess Leopoldina’s 1817 arrival in Rio de Janeiro as Empress of Brazil. The work first began to appear that same year as Historische Handzeichnungen, Vienna, kaiserlich-königliche Hof- und Staatsdruckerei. Graphic Arts recently acquired a compilation of the entire set of Gieger’s history.


Peter Geiger (1805-1880) was a respected history painter and illustrator, producing popular images based on the works of Goethe, Schiller, and Shakespeare, as well as Austrian authors such as Grillparzer and Stifter. It was his work for an earlier project, Anton Ziegler’s Vaterländische Immortellen aus dem Gebiete der österreichischen Geschichte (1838-1840), which first brought him considerable public attention. Although Princeton does not own this multi-volume work, it is available through itunes. A note of caution when searching Geiger online: aside from Royal portraiture and literary illustration, he also had a lucrative business creating erotic art.

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