Born in Münsterberg, Langer commenced his artistic education in the workshop of a local painter, Friedrich Wächter. From 1883 he continued his studies in the Royal School of Art and Applied Art in Breslau, which he graduated from 3 years later. Langer was famous for paintings decorating the interiors of temples, public buildings, as well as private residences. His oeuvre contained numerous portraits, religious scenes and depictions of everyday life, still-lives and arts and crafts designs. The painter's inspiration was drawn from numerous travels to Italy, Africa, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. In 1894 he took a professor's chair at the Royal School of Art and Applied Art in Breslau. The artist was also a renowned conservator of wall paintings, commissioned among others with restoration of Aula Leopoldina at the university in Wroclaw.
The collection Langer put together during his many travels consisted of paintings, drawings and sculptures of old and contemporary artists. An important part of it was a group of arts and crafts items including chinaware, glass objects and tapestries. The painter collected also oriental items such as Japanese woodcuts and pottery. It seems that at least some objects from his collection were used as props for his compositions and generally as sources of inspiration.
Adam Organisty, Joseph Langer als Sammler. Werke aus Privatsammlung von Joseph Langer [in:] Joseph Langer (1865–1918). Ein schlesischer Maler, Konservator und Sammler. Ausstellungskatalog Bielefeld-Brackwede 25. Mai – 23. Juni 2002, Adam Organisty (ed.), Kraków 2002, p. 27-32
Adam Organisty, Joseph Langer (1865-1918). Życie i twórczość wrocławskiego artysty, Kraków 2006
Krzysztof Charewicz, Dawne szkło z kolekcji Josepha Langera w Muzeum Karkonoskim w Jeleniej Górze a projekty naczyń autorstwa Josepha Langera w Muzeum Sprzętu Gospodarstwa Domowego w Ziębicach, [in:] Joseph Langer (1865–1918). W 140-lecie urodzin artysty. Materiały z konferencji naukowej zorganizowanej w dniach 26–27 listopada 2005 roku w Muzeum Sprzętu Gospodarstwa Domowego w Ziębicach, A. Organisty, J. Żurawski (ed.), [Kraków 2007], p. 67–72
In 1937 Langer's collection was donated by his widow, Marta Langer-Schlaffke, to his hometown of Münsterberg (today's Ziębice). At that time the value of donated objects, including worksby the artist himself as well as his students, was estimated at a considerable sum of 40 000 RM. After WW2 the collection was dispersed further: the glass items were moved to Muzeum Karkonoskie in Jelenia Góra, and the textiles to the National Museum in Wroclaw.
- Adam Organisty