1874 Heinrich Natter

Behind the Bogenhausen Clinic complex (established 1983),  a statue of Wotan (Odin) sculpted from Kelheim marble stands on a pedestal.  Eroded by wind and weather, the Germanic god of war has lost his right arm and spear over the decades since it was commissioned by the  painter Anton Höchl for his estate— the property of his father, the mayor of Vienna —the Villa "Am Priel".  To the east of the mansion, in a grove of beech and lime trees, Wotan stands on a pedestal of towering rock fragments.

Anton Höchl was a friend of the sculptor, Heinrich Natter, a native of Tyrol. He was a student of J. Geyer in Augsburg and Matthias Widmann in Munich.  On July 25, 1871, Höchl wrote in his diary (now in the City Archive, Munich): "Today I gave the sculptor Natter the commission for the artistic design and execution of a colossal statue of Wotan in Kelheimer limestone, 9 feet high."   In January, 1873, the figure was made public in the artist's Munich studio. The work was sent to Vienna on April 15, 1873 for public exhibition until the beginning of February, 1874.  At the end of March Höchl had the foundations laid out in the grove, and on June 5, 1874, the figure installed. A gypsum model of the Siegfried legend by the same artist in 1876 decorated the garden in front.   Unfortunately, time has not been kind to the Kelheim marble.

Concept Drawing

Heinrich Natter, an Austrian sculptor, born March 16, 1844 in South Tyrol; died April 13, 1892 in Vienna. After the demolition of the Real Gymnasium in Innsbruck, young Natter became  a sculptor's apprentice under Franz Xaver Pendl in Meran from 1858 to 1863. He then attended the Polytechnic School in Augsburg and studied from 1864 to 1867 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under Max von Widnmann. After an extended trip to Italy with stays in Rome and Florence, he returned to Munich in 1868, where he first had success with portrait busts.  Natter  received his first monument commission, a stele for Robert Schumann in Leipzig, in 1872. In 1875 he erected a monument to Walther von der Vogelweide for Bolzano. In 1876 he moved to Vienna, where he first had difficulty gaining a foothold despite several assignments. In Vienna he frequented liberal publicists and writers, especially Ludwig Speidel, as well as conservative poets like Richard von Kralik. In his final years, he also became a writer.