- ca. 1890-1984 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
74 boxes, 5 parcels, 17 albums, 1 oversize folder
Name of creator
Gertrude Langer (nee Fröschel, until the late 1920s also Freschl) was born on 1 July 1908 in Vienna, the daughter of Alois Freschl and Channa / Anna Fröschel, neé Brill. Her father was manager of Leo Brill & Co., his brother-in-law’s company of garment manufacturers.
From 1926 Gertrude studied Art History at Vienna University, being taught by Professor Josef Strzygowski. In 1928 she also attended lectures by Henri Focillon at the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1933 she graduated Doctor of Philosophy in Art History.
In 1932 she had married fellow student Karl Langer. Following the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938 the Langers migrated to Australia via Greece. They arrived in Sydney in May 1939 and came to Brisbane in July 1939. Karl Langer commenced work for architects Cook and Kerrison. The Langers became Australian citizens in 1946.
Soon after arriving in Brisbane Gertrude Langer established herself as a private art history lecturer and critic, giving lectures in her own home from 1940 and later at libraries, clubs and societies. She was the Courier Mail’s art critic from 1953 until her death in 1984. The Langers were members of the Queensland Art Gallery Society and the Australian Council for the Arts, organisations in which they filled key roles over many years. Gertrude Langer also conducted Creative Arts vacation schools at the University of Queensland from 1962 to 1977. She was a foundation member of the International Association of Art Critics and was President of the association's Australian division from 1975 to 1978. Through her work with the Gallery Society and her personal donations of artworks, she exerted her influence on the collection of the Queensland Art Gallery.
Gertrude Langer died on 19 September 1984, after having been widowed 15 years earlier. She had been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 1 January 1968 for services to the Arts.
Collection previously titled as: Papers, 1920-1984.
Collection alternatively titled as: Gertrude Langer Collection.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Estate of Gertrude Langer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
The personal papers of Gertrude Langer (1908 – 1984) include diaries, correspondence, photographs, manuscripts and typescripts, notebooks and ephemera, including exhibition catalogues. The papers cover the period 1917 – 1984 including correspondence received between 1918 and 1984. The material from before 1938 includes papers relating to her Art History studies in Vienna and Paris as well as photographs taken during her travels in Europe. From 1929 onwards the papers include correspondence to and from her future husband Karl Langer (married in 1932), as well as photographs of their travels together. Correspondence and records from 1938 and early 1939 document the Langers’ escape from German-annexed Austria. Material after 1939 documents Gertrude Langer’s activities as a private art history educator and as an art critic in Brisbane. This material includes her lecture notes, lists of students attending the classes, printed ephemera, manuscripts and typescripts of her art reviews for the Courier Mail newspaper, as well as annotated exhibition catalogues. The papers also contain Arts Council of Australia and Queensland Art Gallery Society records, as well as material created by her husband Karl Langer. This includes correspondence received by him between 1922 and 1969, staff cards from his architectural firm (1950s), ephemera as well as sketch plans and architectural drawings for the Langers’ residence in St Lucia (1950).
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Arranged into 25 series.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Material from this collection has been cited in:
Knudsen, Sven. Ian Fairweather: 'The Drunken Buddha' [online]. Eyeline, Vol. 84, 2016: 24-29.
Boxes 1 - 71, Albums 1 - 17, Parcels 1 - 3, Oversize folder 1
Alma MMS ID
Alma Local System Number
Millennium Local System Number
Libraries Australia ID
Place access points
Name access points
- Langer, Gertrude, 1908-1984 (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Revised, BS, 23-Nov-2021. Revised, JH, 7-Jan-2020. Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.