On the occasion of the centenary of Max Weiler’s birthday, Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman dedicates an extensive exhibition to the doyen of Austrian landscape painting that will primarily consist of rarely seen masterpieces. The spectrum will reach from the representational earlyworks of the nineteen-forties via the milestones of painterly abstraction of the sixties and the lyrically reduced works of the seventies all the way to the brightly coloured,impulsive late works.
Towards the end of the fifties, an abstract picture composition takes precedence, in Max Weiler’s work, over the mimetic impetus of the motif. The decade following saw the emergence of probably his best-known picture cycle entitled “Als alle Dinge” (“While All Things”), in which painting itself turns into nature, as it were. Powerful swathes of brushstrokes come together to form mighty natural events. Here, Weiler appears close to the protagonists of Abstract Expressionism, above all to Willem de Kooning. The paintings combine expression with the memorised impressions of natural surroundings. This abstract landscape quality returns in an intensified form in the cycle “Wie eine Landschaft” (“Like a Landscape”), that is characterised by earthy colours and graphic structures, and where often it is empty space that dynamically defines the composition as a whole.
In these pictures, Max Weiler experiences himself as a wanderer who draws upon the thought of magnificent, monumental nature, and paints his abstract landscapes from inspired memory. As already the works of the late forties did, so the paintings of the first half of the seventies too stand out due to a heightened colourfulness. Indeed, these works give off an almost exaggerated and artificial shine, appearing like iridescent coral reefs with a rich fauna and flora. The atmospheric landscapes created subsequently couldn’t be any more different, with their finely traced gestures against meditative backgrounds and their sparse colouring. Here, the sensitive imprint of the abstract painting process gives way to a pure feeling for nature. In the eighties, finally, Max Weiler’s abstract landscapes burst into bloom, become paradise gardens of magnificent colours, amplified by a high pigment content: a red like poppy flowers, a fiery yellow, a sumptuous green, a deep purple. Weiler’s late works are characterised by a life-affirming freshness, dynamism and monumentality.
Images and text provided by Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman
- André Butzer at Galerie Bernd Kugler
- Davide Balula at Galerie Frank Elbaz
- Uwe Henneken at Galerie Gisela Capitain