Sunday, August 4, 2013

The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz, Insurance Clerk from Vienna



In 1993 the artist Oliver Croy was looking through the contents of a junk shop.  He found 387 miniature hand-made buildings, each in its own trash bag.  The houses were meticulously crafted by an unknown Viennese insurance clerk, Peter Fritz.  They were built from inexpensive materials like cardboard, foil, scraps of wallpaper and matchboxes.  They do not appear to be specific real houses but each is a kind of house or store or bank building or other structure that might have been built in Fritz's Austria.  Each is different.

Croy and his friend Oliver Elser, an architectural critic, preserved the buildings and presented them in the 2013 Biennale in Venice.  Despite thousands of artistic works created by professional artists, these miniature houses made by an idiosyncratic clerk for his own enjoyment were my favorite pieces in the Biennale.

Mindblowing!

31 comments:

Lowell said...

Incredible. I could see maybe one of two pieces, but 387? The attention to detail - truly the man is an artist!

Kate said...

I, too, would have found them to be my favorites. What wonderful variety. The idiosyncratic clerk was a very talented man.

jennyfreckles said...

I hope they will find permanent exhibition space. It's uplifting to see such creativity and attention to detail.

brattcat said...

i can see why these would be your favorites. i suspect they would have been mine, too.

RamblingRound said...

What an unusual hobby and artist!

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

The insurance clerk should have been an architect.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

What an incredible undertaking Jack..looks like the results of their endeavours were well worth it, would have been fascinating to see.

Sharon said...

I can see why these would be a favorite. They are so unique. I looks like each one is distinct from the other.

VP said...

What a story, and you are absolutely right about these pieces!

Sylvia K said...

These are incredible and they would be a favorite of mine as well!! Mind blowing they are!! Thanks so much, Jack, for sharing these! I'm so glad they have been preserved!!

cieldequimper said...

That's totally incredible and fascinating!

JM said...

Absolutely cute, Jack!

Luis Gomez said...

These are great!

Cezar and Léia said...

That's pretty nice! And I wonder how such precious work got almost lost in a junk shop. The guy who produced it must have enjoyed all the details of the work!
God bless you!
Cezar

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

What a fortunate series of events. To think that these might have been tossed, neglected or lost forever is sad. I can see why these were your favorite in the Biennale.

Bises,
Genie

Karl Demetz said...

Wow, great idea, otherwise they would be lost.

Taken For Granted said...

Amazing model buildings. I see not all are at the same scale, but the variety is surprising. So glad to know they were saved. More detail photos? Bet your fans would enjoy that.

LOLfromPasa said...

Fabulous. I can't wait to show this to my husband. He has spent hours making model buildings to go along side his model railway (yes, you read right). Great craftsmanship! Thanks, Jack.

William Kendall said...

A splendid idea!

Dianne said...

Amazing minature structures Jack and more amazing to think they were created out of everyday household materials.

RedPat said...

And it was probably the least pretentious display at the Biennale. Wonderful, Jack!

Lynette said...

Thanks for liking these so much, Jack, because otherwise I would not have seen them and been able to like them myself. You're a great guy to share such neat subjects with us, all of the time.

Lynette said...

Jack, is it Venice Art Biennale instead of Vienna, please? I'm trying to get additional looks at the miniatures and can only find Venice. Curious over here. Thanks.

Jack said...

For those who want to see more of Peter Fritz's houses at the 2013 Venice Biennale, just search "Peter Fritz Biennale."

Lynette said...

Thanks, Jack!

Kay said...

Miniatures are so compelling and this grand array of them makes it a special treat. What an interesting little world Fritz created for himself. I'm glad that Croy found and preserved them and glad you shared them with us.

Randy said...

Nice collection.

Michelle said...

That gentleman must have had a lot of patience and talent.

Bob Crowe said...

I'd love to go to the Biennial. The situation makes me think of what became of a bored patent clerk from Bern.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

That's the kind of thrift shop I'd like to find. Imagine someone throwing these little jewels away. The Venice biennale is quite the event. I read somewhere that they are considering making it an annual event. Any word on that?

EG CameraGirl said...

Fascinating! I'm glad these gems are being preserved.