Fritz Schwarz-Waldegg. Travels into the Self and the World

Fritz Schwarz-Waldegg (1889-1942) is a typical representative of the dynamic Vienna art milieu between the wars. Cosmopolitanism and a lively interest in psychology were central themes of this era and the work of Schwarz-Waldegg. His oeuvre may be divided into three phases: an initial enthusiasm for Expressionism, followed by a classical phase strongly influenced by Paul Cézanne, and then in the 1930s historical and ethnological themes that were very much in keeping with the main cultural trends of that decade.

The first retrospective of Schwarz-Waldegg’s works features some 25 oil paintings and 80 other works including loans from numerous public and private collections. As with many other artists of his generation, Schwarz-Waldegg’s early work was strongly influenced by late Impressionism, which he discovered as a student at the Wiener Akademie from 1907 to 1911. During the First World War he served on the Russian front where he produced a number of sketches and portraits of comrades, owned today by the Vienna Museum of Military History. The end of the Monarchy and the inauguration of the First Republic in 1918 were greeted in Austria’s art circles by a general enthusiasm for Expressionism, which had been developed before 1914 by a group of artists including Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Anton Kolig and Max Oppenheimer. Between 1918 and 1921 in Vienna Fritz Schwarz-Waldegg, Alois Seibold, Felix Albrecht Harta and the young Josef Floch created a number of masterly examples in this dynamic and fervent style. Their platform was the Hagenbund association, which Schwarz-Waldegg chaired in 1925/26. Impressive examples of this period in the artist’s life are provided in the exhibition by his famous painting “Confession” (Belvedere) and a series of fascinating travel studies from Copenhagen. The works created during stays in Paris (1924), Berlin (1928-32) and during a trip to Spain (1929) show the influence of Cézanne. The exhibition will feature pictures from this series and also gives an insight into the modern genre art developed by Schwarz-Waldegg in his fashion and ethnological studies.

The last classic portraits before his deportation and death in Maly Trostinec near Minsk in 1942 together with information about this extermination camp provide a harrowing conclusion to the career of a Viennese artist between the wars. 


Curators: Mattias Boeckl, Andrea Winklbauer, Erich Raithel