Tombstone of the Ritter von Bauer family (Brno, Central Cemetery, sect. 27, grave Nos. 39–41; formerly sect. 12, grave Nos. 1–5), 1883‒1887, grey siltstone, red porphyry, yellow-white marble from Laas, Tyrol; unsigned.
The partially preserved tombstone of the Ritter von Bauer family is one of the important “Brno marks of Adolf Loos”, although it is not a work of the architect’s father. Rather, it is the tombstone of the family of Loos’ most important Moravian client, entrepreneur in the sugar industry JUDr. Viktor Knight von Bauer (2 April 1876 Brno – 3 August 1939 Kunín), for whom Loos designed, among others, the villa of the director of the sugar refinery (1913–1914) in Hrušovany near Brno. At the same time, the tombstone with figural sculptural decoration is an example of good quality sepulchral sculptural art of the last quarter of the 19th century.
The tombstone that can now be seen in the Central Cemetery has a rather complicated history: The original tomb of the Ritter von Bauer family had been set in the newly established Central Cemetery in the 1880s. The large grave site was located in sect. 12, grave Nos. 1–5 and to this day it remains lined by the original cast iron grille. The monumental tombstone was the work of Adolf Loos Sr.’s former partner Johann Eduard Tomola, who at that time was already running his independent business and was the main competitor of Loos’ widow. The people buried there were Viktor Bauer’s grandfather Moritz Johann Bauer (12 October 1812 Rosice near Brno – 13 April 1895 Brno), and both his parents Viktor Arnold Jakob Bauer (16 April 1847 Brno – 30 September 1911 Breitenstein) and Marietta Johanna Bauerová (21 November 1856 Brno – 1 June 1911 Brno).
Because of its artistic quality, the tombstone already enjoyed public acclaim at the time of its origin; in 1887, for example, it was described in detail by Mořic Trapp, who also indicated Tomola as the artist. The tombstone had the form of a tall plinth made of siltstone, upon which rested a sarcophagus of red porphyry, decorated with a motif of an endless wave. A life-size sculptural figure of a grieving angel with arms crossed on its chest rested atop it.
However, the appearance of the tombstone in the original grave site is only known from a few archival photographs. Although the tombstone was listed cultural heritage, the grave was liquidated in 1992, the tombstone was sold and moved to its current location (sect. 27, grave Nos. 39–41), where parts of the original grave architecture were secondarily used in an altered form to decorate the Fatrdla family grave.
Fortunately, at least the noble figure of the mourning angel with a touching facial expression, characteristic of this type of Tomola’s figures, has been preserved. Tomola used an identical angel figure, for example, for the tomb of the Pohl family in the municipal cemetery in Opava.