Born 1755 in Gorizia as son of the tailor Andrej from Volče near Tolmin, died 1828 in Vienna. His training in Vienna was arranged by the highly-educated and wealthy Count Philipp Cobenzl, who then sent him to study at the Academy in Bologna and in Rome between 1779 and 1781. Between 1781 and 1787 he lived and painted in Rome with the painters Josef Bergler, Simone Pomardi, Michael Köck, Josef Riedl and Felice Giani. In the years 1787 to 1791 he lived in Vienna, in 1791 he produced drawings after the works of old masters in Mantua, in particular he copied Giulio Romano and reliefs on ancient sarcophagi. From 1791 to 1797 he studied in Venice. In 1796 the Venetian academy appointed him a member of its committee. From 1796 onwards he was a corrector, from 1798 to 1820 professor, and then until his death director of the Academy in Vienna, from 1808 onwards he was also head of the painting department of the Viennese Porcelain Manufactury. In 1823 he was made an honorary member of the Roman Accademia di San Luca. He was a friend of the sculptor Antonio Canova. As regards his drawing, composition, colouring and choice of themes Caucig was a distinct Neo-classicist. His work was influenced by the French Neo-classicist painting with which he became acquainted in Rome, and the painting of Pompeo Batoni, Angelica Kauffmann and J. Ph. Hackert. In oils he painted mythological and biblical scenes and idyllic landscapes. With bistre and Indian ink he drew sketches for oil paintings, vedutas of Rome and its environs, Venice and its surroundings, vedutas of Salzburg and places in the Salzburg area, views of Passau and areas around Vienna, drawings after ancient statues, reliefs, Etruscan and Egyptian objects, drawings after the works of old masters (a considerable number after Raphael). About two thousand of his drawings survive and many of them are very important as documentation. The greatest number of Caucig’s works are in Vienna and in Ljubljana, some are in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Italy, one is in the United States.
Lit.: Ksenija Rozman, Franc Kavčič / Caucig, Ljubljana 1978 [ex. cat.]; id., The Roman Views of Felice Giani and Francesco Caucig, Master Drawings, 3, 1980, pp. 253-257, figg. 30-39b; id., Franc Caucig 1755-1828: Drawings from the Narodna galerija in Ljubljana, Cambridge 1984 [ex. cat.]; Schönes altes Salzburg, Salzburg 1989, passim [ex. cat., more authors]; La pittura in Italia: L'Ottocento, Editor Enrico Castelnuovo, Milano 1991 (biogr. Maddalena Malni Pascoletti); Ksenija Rozman, Franc Kavčič Caucig in Češka, Ljubljana 2005 [ex. cat.].