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Franz Xaver Karl Palko

1724 Breslau – 1767 Prague

The portrait and history painter, Franz Palko, son of Anton Palko, a painter from Breslau, studied under Bibiena at the Vienna Academy and in Venice, where he was inspired by the work of Giuseppe Maria Crespi. Palko went on to pursue a successful career as a painter, undertaking commissions inter alia in Bratislava, Kromeriz, Brno and Dresden, where King Friedrich August II appointed him painter to the Saxon-Polish court in 1752. Like many other foreign artists seeking their fortune in Dresden at the time Palko is likely to have been driven out of the Saxon royal seat by the turmoil of the Seven Years War (1756–63). He subsequently lived and worked in Munich, where he was appointed painter to the electoral court of Bavaria in 1764, as well as in Prague. Palko was a talented etcher, although his printmaking oeuvre consists merely of four “intelligently etched sheets” (Nagler), all of which are of exquisite rarity.