Josef Lauer was born 1818 in Vienna. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Sebastian Wegmayr, Joseph Mössmer, Thomas Ender und Franz Steinfeld. Lauer focused on painting still lifes with flowers and fruits, where he was the first depicting floral still lifes integrated in landscapes. His first exhibition was 1840, then he showed his works in different exhibitions also at the Austrian Kunstverein. Since 1861 he was also a member of the Viennese Künstlerhaus. He lived and worked solely in Vienna.
Josef Lauer died 1881 in Vienna.