The Mineralogical Record
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Georg and Alfred Gasser
(1857-1931)

Georg Gasser was born in Rentsch bei Bozen on April 23, 1857. After graduating from the Franziskaner High School in Bozen he began an apprenticeship under academic painter Johann Hintner. He also later attended the Academy of Arts in Munich (1878-1885).

In the 1890's Gasser's interest turned from art to natural history, and he began to collect natural history specimens of all kinds and set them up in his house as a private natural history museum. Travel guides published as early as 1893 recommend a visit to his house to view his collections. When in 1905 the Bozen city museum was opened, Gasser was allowed to set up his entire collection there. It contained zoological, palaeontological and archaeological exhibits, but above all was his mineralogical collection of approximately 40,000 specimens. In addition to various minor publications, his 1913 monograph on "The Minerals Tyrol" was notable. He dealt in minerals under the name of "Gasser's Mineralien-Kontor." Georg Gasser died June 2, 1931.

A few years after his death the Bozen Museum closed its doors and the mineral collection was transferred to Gasser's son, Alfred Gasser. The Mineralogical Institute of the University of Padua then purchased a portion of the collection, and other good specimens were sold privately. Following Alfred's death in 1969, the remainder of the collection was donated by Alfred's sister Cilli Gasser to form a natural history museum in the city Bozen, now called the Naturmuseum Südtirol (South Tyrol Museium of Nature).

In 2007 the South Tyrol Museum of Nature opened an exhibition devoted to Georg Gasser. They state that: "The entrepreneur, natural scientist, and artist Georg Gasser is regarded as the actual founder of the Nature Museum of South Tyrol. His establishment of a collection of scientific specimens in the late-19th Century represented the "foundation" for today's museum. The special exhibition on the occasion of his 150th birthday focuses on the most-important moments in the life of this tireless collector and eccentric. The exhibition examines the beginning of his collecting activities, his life as a painter, his successes and failures, and – finally – the tragic aspects of his life work and thus illuminates the "myth" surrounding him. Together with numerous scientific treasures and curiosities from his collection – especially his minerals – many specimens which were thought lost will be put on display."

In 1995 George Gasser's house in Bozen was torn down, after having collapsed. Old mineral labels and advertisements in old magazines prove that Alfred Gasser had also operated as a mineral dealer, under the name of "A. Gasser, Mineralien-Kontor."

Addresses for the house in Bozen were Meinhardstrasse 11, and later Via Ospedale 11 and Dantestrasse 11--all refer to the same house. Today the property has the address Rosministrasse 3.

References:
GERL, K. (2005) Personal communication.
www.naturmuseum.it.
GASSER, P. & BAUMGARTEN, B. (Ed.) (2007) Ex coll. Georg Gasser (1857 - 1931) / Katalogbuch zur Ausstellung im Naturmuseum Südtirol / Catalogo della mostra presso il Museo di Scienze Naturali dell'Alto Adige. 271 pp.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - Georg and Alfred Gasser Georg Gasser
The Mineralogical Record - Georg and Alfred Gasser "Gasser's"
(1890's-1931)
The Mineralogical Record - Georg and Alfred Gasser 30 x 46 mm
"Gasser's"
(1890's-1931)
The Mineralogical Record - Georg and Alfred Gasser 30 x 51 mm
"Gasser's"
(1890's-1931)
The Mineralogical Record - Georg and Alfred Gasser 53 x 76 mm,
"A. Gasser"
(1931-1969)
The Mineralogical Record - Georg and Alfred Gasser 44 x 66 mm,
"A. Gasser" (1931-1969)
The Mineralogical Record - Georg and Alfred Gasser 25 x 64 mm
(Simone & Peter Huber collection)
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