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Kahrer, Max

Max Kahrer Winter beim Käferkreuzwäldchen in Klosterneuburg

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1878 Timișoara/Hungary – 1937 Klosterneuburg/Lower Austria

Title
“Winter at the Käferkreuz Grove” in Klosterneuburg
Time
1935
signed
lower right: "Max Kahrer 1935", titled verso
Technique
oil on wood
Measurements
17×26 in

The elegant Ölberg (Mount of Olives) is probably one of the most sought-after addresses in the Vienna surroundings. It is part of the Eichberg – a hill in the Vienna Woods in the Klosterneuburg area. This view by the renowned painter Max Kahrer – one of the most famous artists of the Babenberg town – was created in 1935 and shows the view from the Holzgasse street on the Ölberg to the grove of the so-called „Käferkreuz“.

The “Käferkreuz” (“beetle cross”) is a baroque Marian column that was erected in 1675 after a devastating plague of insects in the middle of the vineyards and fields. According to the inscription on the piety column, it is intended to protect against of „showers, beetles, freezing, pestilence and enemy danger“. The pillar is located in a small wood at the upper end of Käferkreuzgasse – once an important connecting road to Hadersfeld – and was the destination of annual processions.

The painting shows the snow-covered Ölberg, now a densely built-up residential area, as a romantic forest landscape with scattered gardens and a single cottage. However, it appears to have been inhabited all year round, as smoke rises from its chimney – a cozy retreat in the middle of the wintry Vienna Woods. With subtle brushwork, the brilliant landscape painter Max Kahrer lent the dark green wall of treetops an incredibly realistic structure and conjured up drifts and wagon tracks in the snow. In the subdued coloring typical of this creative phase, the artist created a work that reveals through its cropped composition to be more than just a view. He always brought his emotional life, his current mood, into his deserted landscapes. Kahrer himself defined great art in the course of an Egon Schiele memorial exhibition at the Hagenbund as „a unique epic of inner experience“.

Max Kahrer initially studied painting at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts under Franz Rumpler and continued his studies in Munich in 1913/14. In 1905/06 he joined the Hagenbund. In 1903, Kahrer moved to Klosterneuburg and founded the local artists‘ group „Verein heimischer Künstler in Klosterneuburg“. From 1908 to 1937, his works were represented in a total of 16 exhibitions. Together with Egon Schiele, Ludwig Karl Strauch and Franz Rumpler, Kahrer had a significant influence on art life in Klosterneuburg around and after the turn of the century. Egon Schiele produced several portraits of his mentor and friend Max Kahrer and, together with Kahrer, held a collective exhibition in the Marble Hall of Klosterneuburg Abbey in 1908. Today, Kahrer’s works can be found in the collections of the Belvedere and the Wien Museum.

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