Berky, John: What happened to the original base for the Bruckner Bust?

Berky, John: What happened to the original base for the Bruckner Bust?
The original base - Note the bramble on the left (later stolen)
Many people who visit the Bruckner bust (sculpted by Viktor Tilgner) in Vienna's Stadtpark wonder what ever happened to the young lady that used to be reaching up to the great composer. Any student of Bruckner's life and work knows that he would certainly have approved of her attention. Here is the story:

Three years after Bruckner's death a monument in his honor was unveiled in Vienna's Stadtpark. Viktor Tilgner and Fritz Zerritsch were the designers. Tilgner created the famous bust (another was erected in the town of Steyr) Zerritsch designed the base. The beautiful young girl on the base was Elisabeth (Praherstorfer), the first wife of Carl Almeroth. Bruckner played the organ at their wedding. She died young, and Zerritsch wanted to create a monument for her as well.

Unfortunately, the monument base was heavily damaged by vandals. The bramble on the left side was removed, the left thumb was broken off and the laurel held in the right hand was removed. The damaged structure was then transferred out of the park and was placed in the garden of the College of Music.

In 1988 the Tilgner bust was brought back to the city park. Stefan Kameyczky made the new pedestal. The new marble base has a large open area below the bust and today is often subjected to graffiti.

According to Dr. Elisabeth Maier of the Institute for art and music-historical research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, when the bust (on its new pedestal) was returned to the Stadtpark, the original base was moved into storage at the Academy of Sciences and may someday be placed on exhibit. At present, it is not available for public viewing.


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