Julius von Payer

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Julius Johannes Ludovicus Ritter von Payer (2 September 1841 – 19 August 1915) was an Austro-Hungarian arctic explorer and an Arctic landscape artist.

Born Julius Payer, his father Franz Anton Rudolf Payer was a retired officer who died when Julius was only fourteen. Payer attended k.k. cadet school in Lobzowa near Kraków (now Poland). Between 1857 and 1859 he studied at the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt (near Vienna). In 1859 he served as a sub-lieutenant with the 36th. infantry regiment in Verona, Northern Italy. He participated in the 1859 Battle of Solferino. Between 1860 and 1863 he served at the garrison in Verona, Italy. In 1863 Payer was assigned as a history teacher to the cadet school in Eisenstadt, Austria. After promotion to the rank of lieutenant first class he was posted to the garrison of Venetia.

In 1862 he started exploratory tours of the Italian Alps and Hohe Tauern in his free time. From 1864-1868 he explored the Adamello-Presanella Group and the Ortler Alps. He was the first to climb Adamello (3554m). His tours resulted in creating a detailed topographical map at a scale 1:56,000. Due to his achievements, Payer was transferred to the Austrian Military Cartographical Institute in Vienna.

On 24 June 1866 he was heroic at the Battle of Custoza seizing two guns and was decorated.

In 1868 he was invited by the German geographer August Petermann to participate in the 1869-1870 2nd German North Polar Expedition (Germania under Carl Koldewey).

In 1871 he participated in the preliminary Austro-Hungarian expedition to Novaya Zemlya, with Karl Weyprecht.

From 1872-1874 he led the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition with Karl Weyprecht.

In 1874 he resigned from the army because of political maneuvers against him and his brother officers' doubts about his discovery and his sledge journeys.

On 1 October 1874 he got 44 Gulden (Austrian currency) for the discovery of Franz Joseph Land. On 24 October 1876 he was elevated to the Austrian nobility which entitled him and his descendants to the style of Ritter von in the case of male and von in the case of female offspring.

In 1877 Ritter von Payer married the ex-wife of a banker from Frankfurt am Main. They later had two children, Jules and Alice.

From 1877-1879 he studied painting at the Städelsches Institut in Frankfurt / Main. From 1880-1882 he continued his study of art at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in München.

From 1884-1890 he worked as a painter in Paris.

In 1890 he divorced his wife, returned to Vienna and founded a painting school for ladies.

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