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Joseph Selleny

1824 Vienna – 1875 Inzersdorf

The painter, watercolourist and printmaker, Joseph Selleny, studied under Thomas Ender and Franz Steinfeld at the Vienna Academy. Study trips subsequently took him through Tyrol and Lombardy to Venice. Endowed with a scholarship from the Vienna Academy, he lived and worked in Rome and Naples in 1854/55. Selleny’s talent earned him the patronage of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, the Emperor’s brother. This connection enabled him to circumnavigate the globe on board the Austrian frigate Novara, a journey which lasted from April 1857 to August 1859. During this time he produced around two thousand watercolours and studies of ethnographical and natural histo­rical interest, a considerable number of which are now in the Albertina Graphic Arts Collection and the Österreichische Gale­­rie Belevedere in Vienna. Selleny’s career later took a tragic turn. In the 1860s he was a successful freelance artist and garden architect in Vienna, but he suffered from a nervous disorder, of which he died at the psychiatric hospital in Inzersdorf near Vienna at the age of fifty-one.