J. Payer


Julius Johanes Ludovicus Payer was born on September 2, 1841 in Teplice in an Empire house called "U Jitřenky". The local spa was at the height of its fame at the time and had a European reputation.

Julius had a penchant for climbing since childhood. Behind the birth house rises a steep rock, on which, despite the parents' ban, he climbed several times a day.

From an early age, he followed in the footsteps of his father, who was an officer in the Austrian army and an excellent painter and cartographer. Like him, he often sat in a corner by the window and drew diligently to his designs.

In 1852 he entered the cadet school in Lobzów near Krakow and from there he transferred to the Theresian Military Academy in Vienna's New Town.

He spent the first years of his studies with an infantry regiment, or taught geography and history at a cadet school. He was later transferred to the crew, with whom he began his alpine ascents and acquired his first quality maps. In 1866 he took part in the Battle of Custozza and was awarded and promoted for his bravery. His commanders noticed his cartographic activities and called him to the Military Geographical Institute. He also taught history at the Military Academy.

Thanks to his ability, Payer was recommended to take part in the second German polar expedition to the east coast of Greenland as the leader of the sleigh expeditions. He managed to explore and map the coast with numerous islands, discovered the land of King William and was the first to introduce rock climbing into Arctic research. The mountain he climbed here was named Payer's Shield.
Payer's next trip was with Austria's first expedition to the Arctic Ocean. Their task was to find out the possibility of the high seas towards the Siberian shores. However, this idea proved unrealistic when they encountered ice floes.
Therefore, the second Austrian polar expedition was sent, which was to try to find a free way to the east or to the North Pole again. However, the situation was far worse than on the previous expedition and the ship got stuck in the grip of the ice masses, in which it froze and was driven in different directions, especially to the north.

Because the steamer was unmanageable, the crew built makeshift dwellings on the ice floe. They got in front of a hitherto unknown island group, which they named after the then Emperor of the Lands, Franz Josef. They had to go back without a ship. Their magnificent return was accompanied by celebrations and ended with an audience with the emperor. Then Payer returned to his native Teplice.

His successful campaign continues with a series of lectures in European countries, but Payer intends to continue to focus only on art and is leaving the army. He began studying painting in Salzburg, then in Frankfurt, where he married. After graduating, he moved with his family to Paris, where he became blind after the infection and broke up with his wife. He himself returns to Vienna, where he founded a painting school and painted his most famous painting "Never Back!".

After a stroke, he became speechless and partially paralyzed. He died on September 4, 1915 and was buried in the honorary grave in Vienna.