Decker, Johann Stephan

Decker, Johann Stephan (b. Colmar, 26 December 1783; d. Grinzing, near Vienna, 25 June 1844). Painter and lithographer. After studying with Jacques- Louis David and Jean Jacques [Casimir] Karpff in Paris, he returned to Colmar in 1811/12. In 1818 he moved to Pest [Budapest], and in 1821 to Vienna. There he painted portraits of several prominent persons, including the duke of Rcichstadt, and also gave drawing lessons to members of Archduke Karl’s family, notably to his daughter Maria Theresia, later queen of the Two Sicilies.
In May 1824, at a time when Beethoven’s two big concerts focused considerable public interest on his latest compositions, Decker was commissioned by the Lithographisches Institut to paint his portrait (see BKh6/211, 240, 250). Decker’s lithograph, based on a chalk drawing, was issued by the Institut on 3 June and printed as a supplement to the Vienna Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung on 5 June. In 1827 Artaria & Co.* published an engraved copy of the portrait, prepared by Joseph Steinmüller. Carl Czerny* reportedly considered Decker’s portrait a very good likeness, but Schindler* dismissed it as a ‘bit of fantasy’. It has been suggested that it may have served as the model for Kriehuber’s* 1832 lithograph (see Hochenecker*).