Colonel Fischer von See 1916


For picture description see below.

JQAW# P_1916_060
Oil on canvas 86 x 62 cm
Signature: John Quincy Ɑdams Pasubio 1916
Kaiserjägermuseum Berg Isel Innsbruck KJ283

¾ Portrait standing in greeting position in left profile view in field gray uniform with order clasp. On his side on a belt an officer's dagger. The painting in the present state, painted over by another hand (left) without right arm, colored picture background in the upper third; as well as in its reconstructed original state (right), the right arm raised in salute with white canvas picture background.

Colonel August Moriz Josef Fischer von See 7.1.1866 Zadar to 10.11.1916 Pasubio.
August Fischer von See came from an ennobled family of officers and civil servants. His father Karl August was an officer, a brother an official at a k.k. ministry, another brother a high officer (Oberstbrigadier) in the army. August F.v.S. was married to Johanna (Hansi), née Huß, and had two daughters. His life was probably initially characterized by the usual pattern of changing garrison towns. Born in Zadar (Istria, today Croatia, a divergent source names Wels in Upper Austria as birthplace), one daughter was born in Czechoslovakia (1893), another in Vienna (1900). Graduated from Vienna Infantry Cadet School in 1884, appointed lieutenant in 1887, first lieutenant in 1891, in 1895 when the Kaiserjäger were reorganized (divided into 4 regiments) he was already serving as staff officer in Innsbruck as first lieutenant. Transferred to the 3rd Regiment of the Tyrolean Kaiserjäger in 1897 and appointed captain; major in 1910, lieutenant colonel in 1913, transferred to the 4th Regiment of the Kaiserjäger in 1914, appointed commander of the 3rd Regiment of the Kaiserjäger on April 16, 1915, and promoted to colonel shortly thereafter. War deployments 1914 first in Galicia, from summer 1915 on the Dolomite front. He fell on October 11, 1916 at Pasubio in the front line of his positions, killed by a shell splinter that entered the brain through his forehead.

The portrait of Colonel August Fischer von See, full of character, exists in three versions. It was based on an oil sketch that Adams probably made in September 1916 at the Pasubio (Trento, Italy, near lake Garda (see cross-references) and that was used in the monumental painting Kaiserjägerhuldigung, where Colonel Fischer von See, with his cap raised and waving, salutes the heir to the throne, Archduke Karl (see cross-references). The present portrait is also based on this oil sketch. It is probable that the portrait (which is practically identical to the sketch) was made by Adams shortly after the death of August Fischer von See on October 11, 1916, as a honorary salute with destination Kaiserjäger Berg Isel Museum in Innsbruck. The portrait was painted over at a later date by a foreign hand: The outstretched right hand of greeting was covered by a roughly executed dark blue background, and the designation OBERST FISCHER von SEE was added. A published engraving of the Adams portrait in an hommage to Fischer von See from 1926 also shows the portrait without saluting arm (see cross-references).The original version of the portrait has been preserved in an image from the Kaiserjäger exhibition in Innsbruck in 1917 and is also documented here as a reconstruction. It is particularly striking because of the completely empty white background, except for a background elevation around the colonel's head, which makes the portrait stand out all the more. The colonel's energetic character is excellently captured in the portrait. A contemporary witness (Lieutenant Rudolf von Gelmini), who survived the shell attack lying next to Colonel Fischer, writes in his tribute: "He himself was extremely strict, demanded a lot, made no exception even for himself. And yet he was always a superior who was very concerned for the welfare of his subordinates." (The Pasubio Battles, Teutsch 1937, p.128).


1917 Kaiserjäger Exhibition Innsbruck.



From the artist to
Kaiserjäger Museum Berg Isel, Innsbruck KJ283.