Carl Schuch was on born in 1846 into a wealthy Viennese family. He was taught art for three years in his home city by Louis Halauska, after which he traveled to Italy with the painter Albert Lang. On his return, he established a studio in Munich where he met and befriended Wilhelm Trübner, Wilhelm Leibl and Hans Thoma (the ‘Leibl circle’). Trübner, Leibl and Schuch painted each other’s portraits, shared their models and discussed art exhaustively. Schuch lived in Italy from 1872-73, amongst the large community of German and Austrian artists, who congregated particularly around Olevano; Schuch saved a grove of oak trees near Olevano, arranging for its purchase by the German state.
In 1873 he met the artist Karl Hagemeister, developing a lifelong friendship with the man who later became his biographer, painting landscapes with him in the neighbourhood of Salzburg and in Germany. He also traveled to Holland and Belgium, and from 1876-82 lived and worked almost exclusively in Venice. Whilst there he produced mainly still life paintings, developing his own realist and painterly style. From 1882 he worke din Paris, where he was influenced by the work of Corot, Courbet, Manet and Monet.
Schuch married a Frenchwoman, and returned to Vienna, where he died at the age of 57.