Mr Hassfurther began his professional career as an antiques dealer, mostly concerned with books and manuscripts. As a high point of his career auctioning books and manuscripts, Mr H held an auction of 3,567 lots covering all collector fields in 1976, complete with some works of art.
Further auctions and art exhibitions followed.
The Walde Exhibition in 1978, ‘Alfons Walde 1891-1958. The Painter of Tyrollean Mountains, the New Objectivist, the Eroticist’, was the beginning of a chain reaction. The paper ‘Der Standard’ said: ‘Out of the top 10 Waldes, 9 of these have been auctioned at the Galerie Hassfurther over the last few years’.
1978/79: Frank Sedlacek 1872-1973. The Magical Realism of the New Objectivity, 100 exhibits.
1979: ‘Secession, Austrian Art 1880-1945’ was held at the Vienna Secession and was Hassfurther’s largest show with 313 works at auction and 366 works for sale.
1982: As part of the ‘Thomas Ender and Austrian Landscape Painting 1793-1875’ exhibition, 80 watercolours by Ender were auctioned at peak prices.
1984: Auction. The estate of Josef Floch 1894-1977.
1987: Auction ‘The House of Habsburg 1780-1860’, 424 works.
1989: ‘Vienna after 1945’, 180 lots. Auction at the Hilton Hotel.
1991: Rudolf von Alt 1812-1905 auction, ‘Vienna in Watercolour’.
1995: Sales Exhibition: ‘Wotruba 1907-1975 and His Students’ at the Innerer Burghof.
1996: Auction: ‘Archduke Johann. The Amateur Painter.’
1996: Auction: ‘The House of Habsburg: Art and Manuscripts’, including Emperor Franz-Josef’s hand-written diary from 1844-1848. 159 lots.
2006: Large Herbert Boeckl 1894-1966 exhibition with items on loan from the Albertina and the Boeckl estate.
2009-2001: Mr Hassfurther doubled the auction prices for Oskar Mulley paintings (FAZ, Kunstmarkt)
As well as the countless other manuscripts sold to various national and international institutions, Mr H also achieved €726,728 in today’s currency for a third of Karl Kraus’ manuscripts collection. Hassfurther has sold many letters and manuscripts from classics of Viennese music: Gluck, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Johann Strauss. Of special note are drafts by Bruckner on the andante of the 7th Symphony, a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach and, for instance, elegant inscriptions by Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, as well as countless Mahler letters from his time as director of the Vienna Opera.
The gallerist and auctioneer Wolfdietrich Hassfurther has been an institution in the Viennese gallery scene for more than 40 years, and his famous gallery in the heart of Vienna allows him to move with the highest league of gallery owners and auction houses. Wolfdietrich Hassfurther began as an antiques and manuscripts dealer. As the European market was bought up by American buyers, Mr H discovered the wonderful world of fine art, and set up his own gallery. Since then, he has become a specialist in paintings, master drawings, sculptures, miniatures, watercolours and printed graphics. Even today, Mr H is inspired by the love of art and the beauty of life. The gallery owner has proven his persistence, directness and fighting spirit over the years, and built up a global network of collectors and institutions.
His many regular customers appreciate his honesty, knowledge and talent for finding special masterpieces; his best-known and most loyal customer was the collector Rudolf Leopold, who regularly made purchases in the gallery and at auctions from 1973. Hassfurther’s free consultations and art evaluations are especially appreciated by his clients.
When asked about his age, the auctioneer says: ‘I love getting older and wiser… anyway, I feel younger than ever’ (Kunstinvestor(K!)