Born in Lemberg, Austria in 1881, Georg Merkel studied painting at the Polish Academy for Arts and Sciences in Krakow under Józef Mehoffer and Julian Falat. Merkel traveled to Paris from 1905-1908 and 1909-1914 where he devoted himself to French Classicism, gleaning inspiration from painters Nicolas Poussain, Claude Lorrain and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, as well as works by Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso.
Merkel enlisted in the Austrian Army in 1914 where he suffered a severe head wound that rendered him blind for several months. Once discharged, he settled in Vienna, where he would live and work for the next twenty years. Regaining his eyesight became the ultimate inspiration and influence for his later art.
Merkel was a member of the Artists Association in Hagenbund, Zinkenbacher Painter Colony and the Vienna Secession. He won the Prize of the City of Vienna for Art in 1961 and in 1985, Merkel Road in the 22nd District of Vienna was named after him. On the occasion of his 93rd birthday, he received the French Order Chavelier de L’Ordre et des Arts and Lettres. Merkel exhibited at the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna; Kunstmuseum Linz, Austria; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne and Essl Museum Klosterneuburg, Austria, among others. His works are held in the permanent collection of the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, Austria.