The Straub Family

Philipp Jakob Straub (1706–1774)

Like his brothers, Philipp Jakob Straub received his first education in the arts in his father’s workshop in Wiesensteig. He left in 1721 to follow his brother Johann Baptist (1704–1784) to Munich. There, he worked at the sculptor’s workshop of Gabriel Luidl (1688–1741). In 1730, Philipp Jakob moved to Vienna to attended the Academy for further training. There, he probably worked as a journeyman in the workshop of Johann Christoph Mader (1697–1761), the court sculptor of Prince Eugene of Savoy. His brother Johann Baptist also held a position in the same workshop, which decisively influenced Philipp Jakob’s early style. After three years at the imperial residence, he moved to Graz. He married Anna Katharina Schoy, the widow of the Styrian and imperial court sculptor Johann Jakob Schoy (1686–1732), thus also taking over his workshop. His early style is characterized by the Viennese "Kaiser-Stil", which he incorporated into the Baroque sculptures of Graz. Ultimately, this signified the end of the art tradition of Johann Jakob Schoy and Marx Schokotnigg, which originated in Italy. In 1749/1750, he created his masterpiece reflecting his impressive expressions: the interior of the Stadtpfarrkirche (the City Parish Church) in Graz. Appreciation of his work by his ecclesiastical and courtly patrons soon led to Straub’s appointment as court sculptor. Philipp Jakob Straub's artistic work is considered a highlight of Styrian baroque sculpture. Between 1750 and 1752, he worked closely together with his nephew, the well-known Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–1742). In 1752, he was also elected patron and chairman of the painters' conference. He died in 1774 at the age of 69 and was laid to rest in the Annenfriedhof cemetary at the Church of St. Andrä in Graz.