Family Story Győr and Jewry

Ágoston Léderer’s extraordinary achievements

Ágoston Léderer, economist, chemist, factory founder and art collector (Böhmisch-Leipa, Czech Republic, 1857 – Vienna, 1936), founder of the Győr Distillery and Refinery Ltd. (early 1890) and the Hungarian Waggon and Machine Factory in Győr (1896), was also the owner of the largest art collection in the Monarchy. He also founded the Austrian Railway Traffic Ltd. and the Hungarian Railway Traffic Ltd.

Ágoston Léderer, by Egon Schiele

He had so many ties to Győr that his wedding to Serena Pulitzer (Budapest, 1867 – Budapest, 1943) took place in Győr in 1892. The ceremony was presided over by the Chief Rabbi of the Dohány Street Synagogue, and in 1911 he moved to Győr with his family and acquired Hungarian citizenship. After the First World War they moved back to Vienna and lived in Vienna at Bartensteingasse 8 and had a castle (Ledererschlössel) in Wien-Weidlingau.

During the World War, Léderer gave large sums of money to refugees, the poor and the institutions set up to help them. In 1915, he himself set up a foundation to help disabled soldiers, with a sum of 200,000 crowns.

He was not only a factory founder and art collector, but also an artist patron. The family were close friends with many of the most famous Viennese artists of the time, including Gustav Klimt. One room in their Vienna apartment was dedicated to Klimt’s paintings. Klimt painted a full-length portrait of Serena, considered a famous beauty of the time, but also of Serena’s mother and daughter, Elisabeth. In 1912, on Klimt’s recommendation, the family also met Egon Schiele, who stayed with them for an extended period in Győr. During this time Schiele painted several pictures of the youngest son, Erik Léderer, but a fine portrait of the master of the house is also known. It was during this time that he painted the then still-standing wooden bridge “Goat’s Feet” in Győr (the painting, thought to have been destroyed, turned up by chance a few years ago).

“Goat’s Feet” bridge, by Egon Schiele

Source for this post: (English translation by this website) © – featured image