Express Yourself! Unsung Austrian Expressionist Anton Kolig at the Leopold Museum

One of Austria’s finest expressionists receives his first major show in over 50 years

With a dynamic and dazzling figural style marked by a fierce composition of colors, Anton Kolig may be the greatest Austrian expressionist you’ve never heard of. Somewhat overshadowed by his contemporaries Schiele and Kokoschka, he nonetheless remains a major figure of the first half of the 20th century, with a life no less colorful than his art. Born in 1886 in the Czech town Nový Jičín, he was a classmate of Kokoschka before Gustav Klimt and Carl Moll recommended him for a scholarship in Paris. A member of influential collectives like the Prague Secession and the Hagenbund, he exhibited his works alongside Schiele and formed the Nötscher Kreis (Nötsch Circle), which garnered international praise. Widely respected during his lifetime, he was granted numerous honors, including a professorship in Stuttgart; however, like many others, the apolitical Kolig became a victim of the Nazi regime. Decried as “degenerate art,” several of his works were destroyed, among them the frescoes in the Carinthian State Capitol and mosaics at the Salzburger Festspielhaus. With many more of his paintings destroyed during an Allied bombing raid in 1944, which severely injured the artist and eventually led to his death, relative obscurity was his ultimate reward for a stellar career.

This comprehensive show of Kolig’s surviving works aims to change that: His first major retrospective in over 50 years includes a total of 100 works, with 70 paintings. Curator Franz Smola focuses on portraits and figural allegories while showcasing Kolig’s exploration of a wide spectrum of topics, most notably the male nude.

22 Sep-8 Jan, Leopold Museum. 7., Museumsplatz 1. leopoldmuseum.org

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