Born in Villach in 1838, he learned carpentry in his father’s workshop and took drawing lessons from the Villach landscape painters Canciani and Rumpold. He went early to Munich (1860) to continue education and then to Dusseldorf (1866-1889).
Then, until his death in 1915, back in Munich. He lived and worked together with his brother Ludwig and let himself be artistically influenced by him. For both, in addition to the Munich School of Landscape Impressionism, the French school of Barbizon was the source from which they drew their most important artistic impulses.
His studies of nature “anticipated in their sketchy lightness some practices of mature impressionism” (Otto Demus).
Preferred stay of the two brothers was Bernried on Lake Starnberg, in the summer months also Viktring at Klagenfurt, which they kept constant contact with their Carinthian homeland.
Josef Willroider bequeathed the entire artistic estate of his birthplace