Franz Pitner (1826-92) was born in Vienna and trained at the Academy there. From 1853-54 he studied in Italy, specifically in Rome where he was influenced by Pessini; and then moved to Venice to work, becoming drawing-master to the Duchesse de Berry.
The Duchesse was the daughter of Prince Ferdinand, later Ferdinand I of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and Infante of Spain, and of Clementina, Archduchess of Austria and daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold II. She had married Charles d’Artois, nephew of Louis XVIII, thus becoming Madame de Berry; their son would become Comte de Chambord, pretender to the throne of France. The Duc de Berry was assassinated in 1820, and the Duchesse married an Italian noble, the 8th Duke della Grazia.
Whilst in Venice Pitner painted a number of genre scenes and figure studies. He then returned to his native city, Vienna, where again he produced genre scenes, portraits and lithographs. He continued to teach in Vienna, one of his pupils being Charlotte Lehman (b.1860); see C.E. Clement, Women in the fine arts, from the 7th century BC to the 20th century AD, 1904.
Works in public collections include a watercolour of Fanny Elssler (1810-84), the Austrian ballerina, in the municipal art collections of Vienna (according to Benezit); a print after Venetian serenade, British Museum.