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Johann Nobauer, son of Anton Nobauer and Hermine Nobauer, was born on July 15, 1893 in Vienna, Austria, and received a diploma from the school of Bellas Artes of Vienna. He served in World War I, and in 1921, just after an exhibition of his artistic work, he received a commission by the government of Austria to research the fauna and flora of Brazil. Later, he ignored requests to return to Austria and settled permanently in Rio de Janeiro, a city he had come to love.
In 1922 he was invited by the government in Sao Paulo to hold an exhibition of four dioramas in the Palace of States. In 1925 he was contracted by D. Swiss to paint four pictures for the Catholic Church in Mariana. In 1927, he created 4 works for the old Episcopal Palace. Soon after, he was contracted to paint another 9 pictures, also for the old Episcopal Palace, portraying various churches of Minas Gerais. Subsequently, he received a commission by the federal government for the portrayal of other churches of Minas Gerais. In 1928 he participated, as decorator, in the First Fair of the District, in the Exhibition of the Centennial, Avenue of the Nations, Central Pavilion. He made an enormous diorama of the city of Rio de Janeiro and was the decorator of other pavilions. His diorama later went to the Brazilian Pavilion of the Exhibition American Ibero of Seville.
In 1930, Nobauer worked for the Brazilian government as artist in charge for the Colonial Marine International Exhibition and Flamenco Art of Antuerpia. He had to research everything that was produced in Brazil, in the cultural and in the economical, social and industrial areas. For the exhibition, he needed the whole building of the Palacete Du Brazil. Everything that was produced in the country was on display, including several dioramas. He won three great prizes.
On October 10, 1931 he participated in the exhibition of the LIVING ROOM of 1931 of ENBA, together with other great artists like Cicero Dias, Esther Bessel, Ismael Nery, Lazar Segall, Tarsila of Amaral, Di Cavalcanti, Annita Malfatti etc. The same year, he created a magnificent fresco in the refectory of the old Episcopal Small palace, in Mariana, MG. In 1934 he had an exhibition of several dioramas that showed the life and the architecture of Old Rio, at the building of Old Rio, which remained at of the Management of Meteorology of the Agricultural Ministry, in the Avenue of the Nations. In 1937 he made a diorama of the city of Rio de Janeiro, at the request of the Brazilian government, to be exhibited in the world exhibition of Paris, where it won two Diplomas for Honor and two Medals of Gold. In 1938 he accomplished a diorama of force and beauty that Admiralty sent to the Exhibition of the New State. This diorama showed the new arsenal of the Island of the Snakes and the Naval School.
He also executed dioramas, models and plastic maps for the Ministries: War, Navy, Aeronautics, Agriculture, Work and Justice; as documented by several Diplomas, Medals of Gold and Certificates. In this time he painted a picture of the Sr. Brigadier Antonio Guedes Muniz. At the world exhibition of 1939, Nobauer, exhibited a great diorama of the city of Rio de Janeiro; this work went to the city of New York, where it met with the critics' acceptance, which brought him recognition as an eminent artist of Brazil.
Nobauer was one of those responsible for bringing television to Brazil, he worked on the popularization of television in Rio de Janeiro, and then for the rest of the country. Nobauer was hired by Getilio Vargas's government to help in the construction of a diorama for the city hall of the federal capital in Rio de Janeiro.
Because of personal problems caused by the politics in 1945, he had to retreat from the artistic life of the country, packing everything he was able to: pictures, drawings, sketches, pictures, screens, cuttings of newspapers. Unhappily, everything that was kept was just a small part of his work. Most of his work was destroyed. Nobauer died on November 05, 1971, in an asylum, poor and desolate. Having lived as an outcast of the society of Rio, he died forgotten. He was buried in the cemetery of Jacarepagu.
Information provided by Cristiano Satirus who is documenting the artist's estate.