Location: Upper Belvedere
In autumn 2014, the Belvedere will highlight the oeuvre of the Austrian painter Josef Dobrowsky (1889–1964), one of the most important Austrian artists of the interwar years and a trailblazer of Modernist painting in Austria, within the framework of the exhibition series Masterpieces in Focus. Appreciated by experts, his works have remained practically unknown to the general public.
Born in Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary) in 1889, Dobrowsky moved to Vienna at the age of eleven, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1906 on under Christian Griepenkerl and Rudolf Bacher and joined the Vienna Secession in 1919, whose honorary member he became in 1955. His early works betray Bacher’s influence, but are also indebted to Gustav Klimt, Ferdinand Hodler, and Albin Egger-Lienz. Starting around 1920, Dobrowsky took an interest in Dutch painting, especially in the work of Pieter Breughel the Elder, which is reflected in the warm, dark, and earthy colours of his works from this period. The characteristic employment of colour and light contrasts lends a melancholic atmosphere to his pictures, particularly to his numerous renderings of simple rural life. In the 1930s and 1940s, Dobrowsky’s style became more expressive, and he took to using brighter and more brilliant colours. During this phase, besides painting landscapes, he also increasingly devoted himself to portraiture and still life. Between 1946 and 1963 he taught the master class for painting at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, where, among others, Alfred Hrdlicka, Josef Mikl, and Wolfgang Hollegha numbered among his students. When Dobrowsky died in 1964, he left a comprehensive oeuvre, for which he had received numerous awards, such as the Grand Austrian State Prize in 1962.
Masterpieces in Focus - Josef Dobrowsky will present the entire spectrum of this artist, who has so far received only insufficient recognition. Besides oil paintings, the exhibition will include drawings and outstanding watercolours.