Eduard Theodor Ritter von Grutzner was born in May 1846, in the village of Karlowice Wielkie, Poland, which was Prussian territory at the time. He became most famous for his portrayals os Shakespeare's popular character, Sir John Falstaff. The painter also created many portrayals of amiable monks that became extremely popular.
Born in a noble and religious family, Grutzner always received the best education. His father was an active member of the church, and his family was close to the local pastor, who was one of the first people to believe in his talent as a painter. With the help of his family and the pastor, Grutzner enrolled in an advanced secondary school in Neisse.
At only 18 years old, young Grutzner began studying painting at the Bavarian painter Hermann Dyck's private school in Munich, supported by the pastor. He decided during the first semester of his studies to change his focal point to Classical painting and thus changing teachers as well. He started classes directed at Classic art and antiquity under Alexander Stronhuber and Johann Georg Hiltensperger.
A year later, in 1865, Eduard was a student at the prestigious Munich Academy of Fine Arts, where he had classes with German teacher Hermann Anschutz, who was part of the Dusseldorf school of painting. During this period, Grutzner was close to Karl von Piloty, a German painter, and would often see him as a source of inspiration. He was finally able to join Piloty's studio as a pupil in 1867, alongside other artists from distant places, like Poland, Greece, Hungary, Russia, and many others.
The artist was deeply influenced by German art from the later Gothic period as well as the early Renaissance. So much so that he had an impressive collection of art from these periods. By the end of his career, Grutzner focused more on acquiring pieces from Asian countries. He also enjoyed collecting antique objects and would often include them in his compositions.
Grutzner continued in the Academy until 1870 when he left to build his own art studio in Munich. This period represents the high point of his career, as his popularity grew, and so did his production. He had the honor of winning the Order of Merit of Saint Michael in 1880. The painter had a daughter named Barbara in 1876 with his wife, also Barbara, who he had married two years prior. Sadly, Grutzner's wife passed away in 1884.
In 1888, Anna Wirthmann became Grutzner's second wife, and they had a son, Karl Eduard, soon after. The couple eventually split up. By the end of the painter's life, his interest in the Oriental culture grew, like many Modern artists of the time. He began collecting artifacts and artworks from the Far East and even learned to speak Japanese. Although his work wasn't radical as the Impressionists - who carried a significant aesthetic influence from Japanese art - he spontaneously added these objects in his compositions.
Grutzner's heartwarming and often humorous approach to his characters won over the hearts of his public. Not only that, but he perfected his craft, creating refined masterpieces. His excellence was acknowledged in 1916 when he was knighted.
Eduard Von Grutzner passed away on April 2nd, 1925, in Munich.