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9 Austrian Painters You Should Know About

Austrian painters have long been celebrated for their contributions to the world of art, blending innovation with tradition to create captivating works that reflect the rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes of Austria. From the vibrant streets of Vienna to the serene beauty of the Austrian Alps, these artists have drawn inspiration from their surroundings to produce masterpieces that evoke emotion and challenge perceptions. Mastering a wide range of mediums, from classical oil paintings to avant-garde installations, they explored the themes of nature, history, and the human condition. Let’s take a look at some Austrian painters, who have worked with various mediums and achieved fame by depicting the history and frail human psyche of a collective nation.

Gustav Klimt

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) is perhaps the best-known Austrian painter, having birthed ‘The Kiss’ and ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch Baeur I.’ He was a prominent member of the Vienna Succession movement. Gustav Klimt’s oeuvre is quite extensive, having dabbled into murals, sketches, paintings, landscapes, and others. He is also known for using gold leaves, which he often incorporated into his subjects. His obsession with female figures is evident, which he imbued with symbolist eroticism. 

Courtesy – Etsy

Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918), a protege of Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter, known for his expressionist folio, particularly, ‘Lovers.’ Throughout his career, he was an advocate of mental illness, a fact which he represented in the twisted sinewy figures. His paintings had an innate raw sexuality and playful lines, which are the major characteristics of the expressionism movement. Although he died young, Egon Schiele managed to engender numerous portraits, chronicling the beauty and ennui of nude women. He even drew himself, seldom naked.

Courtesy – Obelisk Art History

Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Kokoschka (1886 – 1980) was a prominent member of the Viennese Expressionist movement. He wore many hats – a painter, a poet, and a playwright. He is noted to amalgamate twisted human forms with an even more ‘degenerate’ psyche. Two of his paintings, ‘The Tempest’ or ‘The Bride of The Wind’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ stand as proof. Oskar Kokoschka, a Jew escaped the intense scrutiny of the Hitler regime, which he often expressed in his passionate and turbulent artworks.

Courtesy – Arthive

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793 – 1865) is known for his beautiful landscape paintings, characterised by his knowledge of colours. He rose to a significant position during the Biedermeier period, during which the middle class developed artistic sensibilities. While most Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller paintings deal with nature’s study, he also drew human subjects. On the first look, you may understand his play with textures and his love for the monotonous yet thriving rural life. ‘Early Spring in Vienna Forest’ and ‘The Love Letter’ remain his magnum opus.

Courtesy – Pinterest

Hans Makart

Hans Makart (1840 – 1884) was another Austrian painter who influenced generations of artists across Austria, Germany, and beyond. He was an academic, whose artworks often represented history rather than a particular subject. To him, the aesthetic of the paintings was primary, which he enhanced through vibrant colours (using asphalt) and fluid forms. This earned Hans Makart the title of ‘magician of colours.’ His paintings were often allegorical, as with ‘The Death of Cleopatra.’ He believed in ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ or a blend of different styles. Hans Makart’s art wasn’t without controversy, as he was highly scrutinised when he painted ‘The Entry of Charles V in Antwerp’ depicting Charles V surrounded by nude virgins. 

Courtesy – Wikipedia

Koloman Moser

Koloman Moser (1868 – 1918) is known to influence 20th-century graphic art. The designer has worked with books, magazines, porcelain, postage stamps, furniture, jewellery, and stained glass windows; the list is non-exhaustive. His artistry uses clean lines and repetitive motifs, inspired by Roman and Classical art & architecture. He was the co-founder of ‘Wiener Werkstätte,’ an artist collective. Koloman Moser is perhaps best known for making the stained glass window for ‘Kirche am Steinhof‘ and ‘Venus in the Grotto.’

Courtesy – Dorotheum Blog

Peter Fendi

Peter Fendi (1796 – 1842) was another Austrian painter associated with the Biedermeier period. He was a court painter, engraver, printmaker, and lithographer. He is known for his resplendent use of oil and watercolours. He received a gold medal for his painting ‘Vilenica.’ He was a favourite amongst the nobility and the court, who commissioned him to create their portraits and teach. Peter Fendi also engraved a series five of Austrian banknotes in 1841.

Courtesy – Numista

Raoul Hausmann

Raoul Hausmann (1886 – 1971) was a significant figure in Dadaism and European Avant-Garde movement. He is best known for his experimental photo montages; a collection of juxtaposed or superimposed fragments of images and text circulating in the popular media. Some of his popular photomontages included ‘Art Critic’ and ‘A Bourgeois Precision Brain Incites a World Movement.’ Raoul Hausmann is also credited for developing ‘optophonetic’ and ‘poster poems,’ which are essentially random letters joined together. Examples of this anti-art form include ‘OFFEAHBDC’ and ‘OFFEAH’ simultaneously.

Courtesy – On This Date in Photography via WordPress

Friedrich von Amerling

Friedrich von Amerling (1803 – 1887) was a court Austrian painter known for his exquisite portraits. He has made over 1000 portrait paintings, commissioned by the nobility and the middle class of the Biedermeier period. His paintings may be seen as an extension of Neoclassical paintings, with rich colouration and clear lines. Friedrich von Amerling’s magnum opus includes ‘Julie Countess of Woyna’ and ‘Baron Pfuel.’

Courtesy – Wikipedia

Image Courtesy – Teodor Ivanov

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