A New Austrian Regionalism : Alfons Walde and Austrian Identity in Painting after 1918
|Year of publication
|Article in Periodical
|Magazine / Source
|Austrian History Yearbook
|MU Faculty or unit
|painting; art; Tyrol; nationalism; national identity; interwar Austria; masculinity; regionalis; regional modernism
|This essay assesses the role of regionalism in interwar Austrian painting with a focus on the Tyrolean painter and architect Alfons Walde (1891–1958). At a time when painting was seen to be in crisis, eclipsed by the deaths of prominent Viennese artists such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, regionalism offered an alternative engagement with modern art. As the representative of a wider regionalist movement, Walde paved the way for a clearly identifiable image of rural Austria without foregoing the modernization process that took place in the Alps at the time. Filtering essential elements of local culture and synthesizing them with both a modern formal language and “modern” topics, most significantly ski tourism, he created a regionalism that reverberated beyond the narrow confines of his home province and caught particular momentum during the rise of the Austrian Ständestaat in the 1930s. Moving in between regional and national significance, Walde's work underlines the essential position of the region in Austria after 1918 and conveys that an engaged regionalism that responded to the rapid cultural and political changes taking place became a significant aspect of interwar Austrian painting.