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Biographical/Historical Information

Salomon Mayer Rothschild was born on September 9, 1774, into a wealthy Jewish banking family in Frankfurt. He left for Vienna to found a branch of his family's bank, thus expanding the influence of the Rothschild family. In Vienna, Salomon Mayer Rothschild was able to leverage the financial power of his family to finance large projects such as the first railroad in Austria. In 1822, Emperor Francis I, made Salomon Mayer Rothschild a noble, and made him the first Jew to receive honorary Austrian Citizenship. As a result of the revolutions of 1848 and the subsequent dismissal of his trusted friend, Prince Klemens von Metternich from his position as a diplomat and government insider, Salomon Mayer Rothschild left Vienna for Paris. His son, Anselm, took control of the bank, and shortly after his arrival in Paris, Salomon Mayer Rothschild died on July 28, 1855.

Josef Kriehuber (1800-1876) was a Viennese lithographer and painter. He created over 3000 lithograph portraits of many prominent Viennese individuals of his day. In 1860 he became the first artist awarded the Franz Joseph Order in Austria. But as photography became more popular his commissions dwindled and he spent his last years in poverty. He died on May 30, 1876, in Vienna.

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Kriehuber, Josef: Portrait of Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774-1855), Leo Baeck Institute, 81.13.