The life

Vienna Paris London New York


1875, May 5

Raphael Kirchner was born in Vienna, to a middle class family


He had music lessons and attended the Conservatoire in Vienna.


He studied at the Vienna School of Art.


He attended an art course at the Spezialschule fur Historienmalerei in Vienna, under the guidance of August Eisenmenger, professor at the Vienna Academy.

1896 He began his activity as a portrait artist.
1897 The first known works as illustrator:
  • the poster for Wiener Illustrirte, a woman's magazine published in Vienna
  • cartoons and drawings for the Viennese Wiener Caricaturen, Die Bombe and Wiener Illustrirte Fraue-Zeitung magazines
  • the illustrations for the book by Leo Hirschfeld, Charlotte Wolter - Ein Erinnerungsblatt, published by Carl Konegen, Wien
  • some illustrations for the album Radlerei, commissioned by Continental Pneumatic
  • the first known set of postcards, «Wiener Typen»
1898 He drew his first sets of postcards for the publishers Philipp & Kramer and Back & Schmitt, both from Vienna, and Theo Stroefer from Nürnberg.

The life: Paris


Raphael Kirchner moved to France, and rented a small studio on the Montmartre Hill in Paris.


He received a honour medal by the town of Nice and a gold medal for a painting exhibited in the same town.

1902 Raphael Kirchner began to sign his postcards with the addition of "Paris", in honour of his adoptive city

He displayed the painting Vestale at the Salon held at the Gran Palais in Paris.

He began the collaboration with the famous English publisher of postcards Raphael Tuck & Sons, with branches not only in London, but Paris, Berlin and New York as well.



1904 He took part in the competition for a publicity poster to launch the Byrrh aperitif, and his work was reproduced as postcard.

He executed many illustrations for the magazine Sect, published in Munchen.


He displayed the painting Damenportrait at the Salon in Paris.
He drew many covers for the German magazine Das Album


He executed illustrations for the magazines L'Assiette au beurre and Le Frou Frou, both published in Paris.


He executed many illustrations for books published by Albert Méricant, Albin Michel, and others.
He drew covers, illustrations and the beautiful album De la Brune à la Blonde for the Parisian magazine La Vie Parisienne and for the magazine Lustige Blätter published in Berlin.


The Parisian Librairie de l'Estampe published many postcards by Kirchner.


Many tables by Kirchner were enclosed in the publications Eros, L'Estampe Galantes, Sourires de Paris, all issued in Paris by Librairie de l'Estampe.
The book Le bandeau by Felicien Champsaur with many illustrations by Kirchner was published in Paris by La Renaissance du Livre.

The life: London


Raphael Kirchner met Robert Boss, an English art dealer, for which he executed numerous works displayed at the Bruton Galleries in London, and reproduced as prints.
The English publisher of playing cards John Waddington chose some subjects from the Bruton collection to illustrate some packs of cards.


Many postcards by Kirchner were published in London by Bruton Galleries.
Many illustrations and tables by Kirchner were enclosed in the magazines The Sketch and The Illustrated London News, both published in London.

The "Kirchner Girl" became the model to imitate for every English woman: they copied her coquettish way of dressing - black silk stockings were the ultimate in fashion - and they abandoned the gaudy frills and constrictive corsets to make way for the diet mania.

The life: New York


Raphael Kirchner left Europe for New York, where met up with his old friend Josef Urban, the Viennese architect at time famous in America as sceneographer.


He worked in New York for Florenz Ziegfeld and his «Follies», designing ten panels for the decoration of the foyer of the Century Theatre, theatre costumes, programmes, music sheet covers, and executing many portraits.
The last set of Kirchner's postcards, "Les Amours de Pierrot", reproducing the panels for the Century Theatre, was published in New York by Reinthal & Newman.

1917, August 2

Raphael Kirchner died in New York, for an appendicitis attack.