The Straub Family

Johann Baptist Straub (1704–1784)

Johann Baptist, the firstborn son to carpenter Johann Georg Straub the Elder (1674–1730), initially received training in his father’s workshop in Wiesensteig. In 1721, he was sent to Munich to learn from the Bavarian court sculptor Gabriel Luidl, who was a friend of the Straub family and was working in the palaces of Nymphenburg and Schleißheim at the time. Inspired by the French rococo – Giullielmus de Grof (1676–1742) had been the favourite sculptor of Elector Maximilian II. Emanuel (1662–1726) since 1717 – the young artist encountered the early works of the prolific Egid Quirin Asam (1692–1750) in Munich. In 1727, he moved to Vienna in order to complete his education. There, he was working together with artists who had connections to the imperial court. His younger brother Philipp Jakob followed in 1730 and attended classes at the academy according to the school’s archives. Johann Baptist started out in the workshop of Ignaz Gunst and later came to work with Christoph Mader (1697–1761), the court sculptor of Prince Eugene of Savoy. He received his first independent commission as a sculptor from the Schwarzspanierkirche Church in Vienna between 1730 and 1734. In the winter of 1734/1735, he returned to Munich, where he spent nearly one year working for the then elderly court sculptor Andreas Faistenberger (1646–1735). Contrary to Vienna, where he would have always been deemed an artist of lesser importance as a wood carver, he received significant attention in Munich. Already in 1737, he was appointed Bavarian court sculptor and soon his workshop became the most distinguished in the electoral residence. Working with the architect Johann Michael Fischer, Straub had an essential formative influence on Bavarian Rococo sculpture. Among his pupils were Ignaz Günther (1725–1775), his son-in-law Roman Anton Boos (1733–1810) and his nephew Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–1783), who would emerge as significant artists in their own right.