Franz Hanfstaengl was born into an old established farming family from Baiernrain at Tölz and came in 1816 on the recommendation of the village teacher in the class of characters led by Hermann Josef Mitterer holiday school in Munich. He was trained in lithography, was in contact with Senefelder 1819-25 and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.
As Porträtlithograf the Munich company Hanfstaengl enjoyed, " Count Litho " called, quickly became popular. In 1833 he founded in Munich a lithographic own institution, which he headed until 1868 and he angliederte 1853 an art print and a photo studio. 1835-52 presented Hanfstaengl produces approximately 200 lithographic reproductions of masterpieces of the Dresden Art Gallery and published them in a book. He was later court photographer and created portraits of famous personalities, and a king Ludwig II of Bavaria, Otto von Bismarck and the Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
He influenced his brother, the Austrian physician, inventor, and politician Norbert Pfretzschner senior in the development of a photographic dry plate 1866. He was the father of businessman Edgar Hanfstaengl, and grandfather of the politician Ernst Hanfstaengl.
Kunstverlag " Franz Hanfstaengl "
Under his name the institution founded by him in 1833 was continued as an art publishing house after his death until 1980. This operation professionalized in 1868 the commercial and overseas operating Franz Hanfstaengl's son, Edgar. Meanwhile, mass reproduction of art satirized the writer Thomas Mann in his novella Gladius Dei published in 1902, describing him and his "reproduction industry " as " art dealer Blüthenzweig ".