How tall was Anton Bruckner?

How tall was Anton Bruckner?
A silhouette drawn by Otto Böhler
The all-pervading image of Bruckner created by the silhouettes of Otto Böhler leaves us with the impression that Bruckner was a short man, towered over by contemporaries such as Wagner and Brahms.

But it’s not true! According to Göllerich-Auer, Bruckner was 175 cm (5’ 9”), and thus taller than Wagner, Brahms and Wolf. (G - A Vol. 4/2, p. 376). In fact, Wagner was a mere 166 cm (5’ 4”), and Brahms was about 170 cm, (5’7”), and hence Bruckner was in a position to look down on them.

And given that the average height in Europe has increased by 11 cm (over 4 inches) since 1870,* Bruckner’s height might well have been today’s equivalent of over 6 feet (185 cms).

(The author, Ken Ward wishes to thank Benjamin Korstvedt and Crawford Howie for assisting with this information).

* Hatton, Timothy J: How have Europeans grown so tall? Oxf. Econ. Pap. (2014) 66 (2): 349-372

“Bruckner hatte die stattliche Mittelgröße von 175 cm, sodaß er seine berühmten Zeitgenossen Wagner, Brahms und Wolf körperlich weit überragte.”
Göllerich and Auer, Vol. 4/2, pp. 376)

The two silhouettes (below) prepared by Richard Bayer give us a more accurate image of Bruckner's height over the more whimsical images prepared by Otto Böhler.

Richard Bayer (c) 2019Richard Bayer (c) 2019