Johann von Fries

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Johann Graf von Fries ( Alexander Roslin )

Johann Graf von Fries (born May 19, 1719 in Mulhouse , Alsace ; † June 19, 1785 in Bad Vöslau , Lower Austria ) came from a patrician and banking family in his hometown, which was allied with the Old Confederation until 1798 . He was a councilor of commerce, court counselor, director of the imperial silk factories, industrialist and banker.

He entered the Austrian service and took over the catering of the armies there. During the War of the Austrian Succession , he brought the English subsidies to Vienna. For his services, he was granted the privilege of founding a barchent factory in Fridau (Lower Austria) in 1751 , and in 1754 he founded a silk goods factory in Oberdöbling (Vienna) and a woolen goods factory in Bohemia. He set up some model companies, such as B. the brass factory in Weißenbach an der Triesting .

On the advice of his Portuguese agent, Johann von Fries brought the blue Portuguese vine to Bad Vöslau in 1772 and thus established the fame of Vöslauer wine.

In 1752 he received a privilege from Empress Maria Theresa to mint the Maria Theresa thaler , which he had produced from 1752 to 1776. He was allowed to take part in the seigniorage to a third , which meant that he was allowed to keep 33.3% of the net profit (from the issue of coins and the placing on the market). He was instrumental in ensuring that the Maria Theresa thaler was used as currency as far as the Orient and far into Africa. The Maria Theresa thaler was legal tender well into the 19th century. Johann von Fries was one of the richest men of his time.

The Palais Pallavicini on Vienna's Josefsplatz

From 1759 to 1783 he was in charge of the Imperial and Royal Mining Product Wear. From 1766 he was the owner of the Fries bank. His partner was the Frankfurt banker Johann Jacob Gontard , who was also ennobled in 1766.

Fries bought Vöslau Castle in 1761 and had it rebuilt by the court architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg to the shape it has preserved to this day. The architecture of the castle with the sculptures form an ensemble of early classical art that is rare for Austria. An English-style park was created with statues, niches and artificial grottos.

Johann von Fries had Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg build the Palais Pallavicini on Josefsplatz in Vienna in 1783/84 . The palace was built on the site of the royal monastery that was closed in 1782 and caused amazement at the time because of its simple facade.

Although he was a Protestant, he was ennobled: in 1762 he was given the rank of baron and in 1782 the rank of count. His son Moritz Reichsgraf von Fries was also a banker, patron and art collector.


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