February 14, 1851: Birth of Duluth artist Feodor Von Luerzer

On this day in 1851, future Duluthian and artist Feodor Von Luerzer was born in the Austrian Province of Salzburg. According to biographer David Ouse, Von Luerzer immigrated to the United States about 1886, finding work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a panorama painter. In 1889 he moved to Duluth and set up a studio where he both painted and gave lessons. In Duluth, Von Luerzer painted mostly landscapes and scenes of the logging industry. In 1899 he was hired to paint interior decorations in the residence of the Right Rev. James  McGolrick, Bishop of the Diocese of Duluth. Around 1900 Von Luerzer and fellow artist and Austrian John Fery were hired to paint murals within Fitger’s Brewery Saloon 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 door at 508 East Superior Street. In 1916 the Brewery Saloon became Joe Wisocki’s saloon. For a few years in the 1920s Wisocki called his establishment the Dutch Room restaurant after the room containing Von Luerzor’s murals, and in 1937 he changed the name to the Pickwick after a near beer Fitger’s produced during Prohibition. The Pickwick is still in business, and the murals can still be seen in the restaurant’s Dutch Room. Von Luerzer died in Spokane on August 19, 1913; you can read much more about him here.

Feodor von Luerzer’s Figures in the Redwoods, commissioned by Duluth’s Robert B. Whiteside, who then owned California’s Calaveras Grove. (Image: Public Domian)

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