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Stoitzner, Josef

Josef Stoitzner Landschaft im Oberpinzgau

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1884 Vienna – 1951 Bramberg/Pinzgau

Title
“Landscape in Upper Pinzgau”
Time
around 1928
signed
lower left: "Josef Stoitzner"
Technique
oil on cardboard
Measurements
17×17 in

Josef Stoitzner – a well-known Austrian painter, Secessionist and member of the Künstlerhaus – came from the renowned Stoitzner dynasty of artists, in which he was by far the most successful. Born in Vienna in 1884 as the son of the academic painter Konstantin Stoitzner, he studied at the School of Applied Arts from 1904 to 1906 and from 1906 to 1909 at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna under Prof. Franz Rumpler, where he was to teach himself from 1932.

Stoitzner found his own style early on, rooted in the atmospheric realism of the 19th century, which he remained true to and brought to perfection. His depictions are extremely precise, almost graphically linear and characterized by an unmistakable contour style. Within these clear pictorial tectonics, however, Stoitzner worked with a surprisingly bold brushstroke.

As a landscape painter, the city dweller found a rural home in Oberpinzgau, where he spent several months of the year. In 1902, at the age of 18, Josef Stoitzner traveled to Bramberg (Zell am See district) for the first time. In 1909, the year in which he became a member of the Secession, he married Anna Millinger, a doctor’s daughter from Bramberg. From 1944 until his death in 1951, Stoitzner lived in the idyllic village on the Salzach all year round.

The Salzach Glacier – a mighty tongue of ice from the Ice Age – once formed today’s Salzach Valley and left behind a huge primeval lake. After it silted up, the Salzach river remained, which created wet meadows and fens through numerous floods and the repeated changing of its course. In Pinzgau, these were often used as horse pastures or bedding meadows (for litter in the stables). Even after the river was regulated in the 19th century, some of these wetlands, abandoned river courses and reed-covered bank zones remained and provided Josef Stoitzner with an inexhaustible treasure trove of excellent motifs.

The present atmospheric painting „Landscape in Oberpinzgau“ not only reveals Josef Stoitzner as an artist of the Secession through its square format – the tendency to stylize the real landscape into a geometric ornament is also striking. Early spring, Stoitzner’s favorite season, offered the painter numerous opportunities for this, such as the monochromatic nature of the landscape, the intertwining branches against dark mountain slopes or bright cloudy skies, as well as the almost unearthly golden light of the low sun.

Outstanding paintings such as this one make it clear that Josef Stoitzner is rightly regarded as one of the most important Austrian landscape painters of the first half of the 20th century. The fact that this view was also shared by his contemporaries is confirmed by numerous international exhibitions, including in Berlin, Munich, Rome, Budapest, Warsaw, Brno, New York, Chicago and Toronto, as well as his participation in countless exhibitions at the Vienna Secession. Today, Stoitzner’s works can be found in the Belvedere Vienna, the Wien Museum, the Albertina and the Leopold Museum, among others.

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