The Auditorium is located in the Main Building of the University of Graz, which was erected in 1895 by the Viennese architect Karl Stattler. Housing up to 600 guests, the Auditorium is the largest room in the university. It is a place of gathering, but also a venue for graduation ceremonies, academic ceremonies of honour, concerts and various other events. The Auditorium, with a length of 25m, a width of nearly 14m and a height of 12m emanates an atmosphere of late historicism, whilst at the same time the elegant golden-white colours of the walls herold the fin de siècle-style.
The South-Eastern end of the room is dominated by a marble statue of the Emperor Franz Joseph I, which was created by Hans Brandstetter on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of the Main Building in 1895. In 1930, the cartouche above it with the Habsburg coat-of-arms was removed and the paintings – not frescos! – were attached to both front sides. To the right, a plaque commemorates the laying of the cap stone on 4 June 1895 by Emperor Franz Joseph I. With this ceremony, the new campus that had emerged in the Geidorf district since the 1870s was officially opened.
“The Human Pursuit of Perfection” is the name of the work done by the historical and theatre painter Alexander Demetrius Goltz (1857-1944). In 1907, Goltz was commissioned with the painting, which he completed in about three years. However, an art committee criticized his work. They described his figures as being “without body”, and that they “were wearing clothes, but didn’t have any flesh and bones and apart from that, they were badly drawn and of bad taste”. Time passed and the criticism became even harsher. In 1912, the work was attacked as being “unartistic trash”. Goltz’s designs were shelved.
Finally, in 1924, the Styrian artist Daniel Pauluzzi presented the Ministry with proposals for painting the Great Hall. Unfortunately, there was no money available for completing the work. In 1930, the 73- year-old artist Goltz was asked to complete his paintings. Since 1999, the designs, which had been drafted as chalk drawings in six episodes, are exhibited on the northern wall of the Auditorium under the arcades.