Painting, graphics and media art
Before 1945: According to best-medical-schools, the founding of the “Association of Austrian Artists Secession” (1897) as a reaction to the historicism that dominated the Vienna Künstlerhaus was of great importance for the development of the visual arts. Important founding members were G. Klimt , Moll, Moser, Josef Engelhart (* 1864, † 1941), Wilhelm Bernatzik (* 1853, † 1906), Max Kurzweil (* 1867, † 1916), R. Jettmar , the set designer Alfred Roller (* 1864, † 1935) as well as the architects J. Hoffmann and JM Olbrich. Instead of a common style principle, the works of the Viennese secessionists contain variants of symbolism and / or late impressionism and forms of art nouveau. This diversity is also documented by the magazine “Ver Sacrum” (1898–1903), with the illustrations of which the graphic arts of the time reached a high point. With his portraits, landscapes, allegories and nudes, G. Klimt is the most important artist of the Art Nouveau period.
Important painters who died young were R. Gerstl and E. Schiele, both early representatives of that specifically Austrian Expressionism, of which O. Kokoschka was the most prominent representative. M. Oppenheimer (called Mopp) stepped v. a. as a portraitist. Impressed by F. Hodler, A. Egger-Lienz developed a popular heroic-monumental style. In the field of drawing and illustration, A. Kubin’s gloomy visions occupy a prominent place.
The years of the First Republic (1918–38) were characterized by stagnation and stylistic inconsistencies. A. Kolig, Franz Wiegele (* 1887, † 1944), Gerhard Frankl (* 1901, † 1965), Arnold Clementschitsch (* 1887, † 1970) and Anton Mahringer (* 1902, † 1974), known as painters of the »Nötscher Kreises «(in Carinthia), dealt with P. Cézanne and gave particular weight to the colors. The same applies to H. Boeckl , who also achieved great importance as a teacher at the Vienna Academy. A. Faistauer from Salzburg, A. Wickenburg from Graz, Hans Böhler (* 1884, † 1961) and Carry Hauser (* 1895, † 1985) in Vienna as well as the painters Emanuel Fohn (* 1981, † 1966), W. Thöny and Jean Egger (* 1897, † 1934), who mostly lived abroad, also oriented themselves towards the tendencies of French modernism, without ever questioning the representational. Ferdinand Andri (* 1871, † 1956), Oskar Laske (* 1874, † 1951), Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel (* 1881, † 1965), F. von Zülow, Karl Sterrer (* 1885) stuck to the traditional or the successor to Art Nouveau , † 1972) and Alfons Walde (* 1891, † 1958). Moderately expressive styles in painting and graphics were represented by Josef Dobrowsky (* 1889, † 1964), Leopold Birstinger (* 1903, † 1983), H. Fronius, Ferdinand Stransky (* 1904, † 1981) and W. Mountain. Important representatives of the New Objectivity were Rudolf Wacker (* 1893, † 1939), Herbert Ploberger (* 1902, † 1977) and Ernst Nepo (* 1895, † 1971), furthermore Franz Sedlacek (* 1891, † 1945), Otto Rudolf Schatz (* 1900, † 1961), in phases also AP Gütersloh , Eduard Bäumer (* 1892, † 1977) and Sergius Pauser (* 1896, † 1970). Erika Giovanna Klien (* 1900, † 1957; from 1929 in the USA) occupies a special position, who abstractly visualized movement and emotion (»Wiener Kinetismus«). The graphic artist K. Rössing, H. Bayer and Wolfgang Paalen (* 1905, † 1959), who made contact with the Surrealists, lived abroad.
One of the pioneers of secessionist sculpture was Carl Wollek (* 1862, † 1936; Vienna, Mozartbrunnen, 1900–05). Franz Barwig the Elder (* 1868, † 1931) became known as an animal sculptor of Art Nouveau. For the presentation of Klinger’s“Beethoven” at the Vienna Secession (1902), J. Hoffmann designed the interior with overhang reliefs, which are regarded as incunabula of abstract-geometric sculpture. Josef Müllner (* 1879, † 1968) and G. Ambrosi represented traditional positions. Great importance is attached to A. Hanak , who created an expressive-heroic image of man that corresponded to the political ideas of the First Republic. Of A. Hanak’s students had to emigrate Siegfried Charoux (* 1896, † 1967), Jakob Adlhart (* 1898, † 1985) carved among other things. an important expressionist crucifix for Saint Peter in Salzburg (1925/26), and Josef Thorak (* 1889, † 1952) became a state artist in the Third Reich. Before 1938, Cubist stylistic devices were only accepted by Albert Bechtold (* 1885, † 1965) from Vorarlberg. F. Wotruba, also a student of A. Hanak, had a lasting influence on Austrian sculpture after 1945 with his late Cubist formal language. F. Wotruba’s pupil (including R. Hoflehner; Heinz Leinfellner, * 1911, † 1974; Josef Pillhofer, * 1921, † 2010; Joannis Avramidis, born 1922; Wander Bertoni, * 1925; Erwin Reiter, * 1933) often developed independent concepts. To be emphasized are A. Judgment , for whom the movement of a body became the main theme, and Roland Goeschl (* 1932), who accentuated sculpture and space with primary colors. In addition to F. Wotruba’s environment, Hans Knesl (* 1905, † 1971) represented a haptic-figural design principle; Walter Ritter (* 1904, † 1986) and his school in Linz also worked in a similar way. Meditative structures and forms found Fritz Hartlauer (* 1919, † 1986) and K. Prantl. The latter founded the St. Margarethen Sculpture Symposium in Burgenland in 1959, which became a model for similar institutions around the world.
From the 1960s onwards, three loners became of outstanding importance: A. Hrdlicka, who, as an opponent of any abstraction, advocates a critical, politically and socially motivated realism (“Rodin des Proletariats”); W. Pichler with his return to mythical and ritual ideas; Bruno Gironcoli (* 1936, † 2010), who appears with (plastic) sculptures tending towards monumentality, characterized by the magical and irrational. Franz Xaver Ölzant (* 1934), Gerhardt Moswitzer (* 1940, † 2013), Klaus Pinter (* 1940) and C. Kolig also attracted attention as loners.
In parallel to the “New Painting”, a stylistically inhomogeneous sculpting scene (“New Sculpture”) established itself in the 1980s, which only shows similarities in the search for new materials and levels of action. The main representative is Franz West (* 1947, † 2012), who among other things. emerged with performances and interventions in public space, the versatile Lois Weinberger (* 1947), who among others. seeks to combine art and nature through botanical-horticultural strategies, as does Erwin Wurm (* 1954), who largely questions the plastic object through irony. Further exponents are Hans Kupelwieser (* 1948), Thomas Stimm (* 1948), Manfred Wakolbinger (* 1952), Leo Zogmayer (* 1949) and Michael Kienzer (* 1962). Willi Kopf (* 1949) and Josef Dabernig (* 1956) represent minimalist tendencies. From the innovative school Gironcoli are Manfred Erjautz (* 1966), Peter Sandbichler (* 1964) and Hans Schabus (born in 1970) emerged. The collective »Gelatin«, which has existed since 1995, has been attracting media attention with provocative installations. Irritation and spatial intervention are also in the foreground for Werner Reiterer (* 1964) and Florian Pumhösl (* 1971). – With library walls cast in concrete, the British created Rachel Whiteread an impressive Holocaust memorial (1996–2000) for Vienna’s Judenplatz.