August 19: Death of Duluth artist Feodor Von Luerzer

On this day in 1913, former Duluth resident Feodor Von Luerzer died in Spokane, Washington. Von Luerzer was born on February 14, 1851, in the Austrian Province of Salzburg. Following several years of service in the Austrian military he enrolled in the Vienna Art Academy to study painting. He immigrated to the United States about 1886, eventually settling in Cleveland. Von Luerzer left the Ohio city by canoe in the spring of 1889, heading west on Lake Erie. In the fall of that year, he arrived in Duluth, renting a room on East Superior Street and opening an art studio in the Ingalls Block at 105 West Superior Street. By 1891 he had moved his studio to the Pastoret-Stenson Block on First Avenue East and Superior Street and was residing at the Brautigan Summer Gardens, an amusement park of sorts on the shore of Lake Superior between 29th and 30th Avenues East. In Duluth, von Luerzer painted mostly landscapes. Around 1900 von Luerzer and fellow artist and Austrian John Fery, who was in Duluth for a short time, were hired to paint murals in the Brewery Saloon inside the Fitger Brewery. Von Luerzer’s paintings depicted, among other things, elves brewing beer and inebriated monks and a depiction of August Fitger’s boyhood home in Delmenhorst, Germany. In 1914 the murals were moved to the new Brewery Saloon Fitger had built next to the brewery at 508 East Superior Street. In 1916 the Brewery Saloon became the Pickwick, which still operates today. The murals can still be seen in the restaurant’s Dutch Room. There is much more to Von Luerzer’s story, and you can read it here.

This photograph of Feodor von Luerzer appeared in the Duluth Herald on June 4, 1904. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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