“Contemporary witness” Georg Eisler in the Belvedere

Director General Stella Rollig described Eisler, who died in 1998, as the “caliber of Austrian art”. The works in three rooms of the Upper Belvedere present a critical mind and keen observer, whose images have lost none of their topicality: “Georg Eisler’s subjects make reference to current topics: to the me-too debate, to the Black Lives Matter movement, to conflicts at demonstrations such as the corona protests or political crises,” said Rollig.

Eisler’s motifs are as varied as life: there are gatherings of people who, despite their physical proximity, do not interact with each other – Eisler painted a scene from the Viennese Café Sperl, in the middle of the picture there are empty tables, isolated people lose themselves on benches at the edges of the picture . The jazz lover Eisler, son of the composer Hanns and the singer Charlotte Eisler, also painted scenes from dance and nightclubs.

Photo series with 6 pictures

These everyday scenes are contrasted with subjects of violence and conflicts, some of which are politically motivated, with which Eisler criticized the political establishment. For example, he captured scenes of racist violence in South Africa. The painter, who was born in 1928 between the wars, got to know repressive political systems that abused their power early on. He moved to Moscow with his mother in 1936, but it was impossible for him to return to Austria because of the “annexation” to Germany.

Remained true to figurative, realistic painting

While he drew on his present themes, Eisler stayed stylistically far from the avant-garde. The contemporary trends after 1945 – abstraction, surrealism, informal art, pop art or neo-expressionism – were not reflected in his work. Translating the visible with a loose brushstroke into his own visual language was his concern and a constant challenge. “To make the gaps visible, the perspective, emotional and spiritual gaps from figure to figure”, this is how Georg Eisler formulated his artistic concern in 1963.

“Exhibition Notice”

In view: Georg Eisler forensics, Oberes Belvedere, Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030, April 8 to September 25, Mon to Sun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m

Eisler – always equipped with a sketch pad – captured life where he observed it and where it moved him mentally and emotionally. He implemented the selected pictorial plots with mostly loose, lively brushwork, avoided unnecessary details and concentrated on the essentials. In this way, he created a style of representation that still fascinates today.

Refurbishment of the work in progress

Eisler was a successful painter throughout his life, received the Austrian State Prize for Painting in 1965, was President of the Vienna Secession from 1968 to 1972 and took part in the 1982 Venice Biennale. After Georg Eisler’s death in 1998, Alice Eisler took over her husband’s artistic estate. In 2013, this was transferred to the Georg and Alice Eisler Fund for visual artists and composers, which is still trying to process and administer the extensive work today.

In cooperation with the Fund, a catalog raisonné of the artist has been in the works at the Belvedere since early 2019. As part of the exhibition, the Belvedere received one of 14 paintings by Eisler. The large-format works deal with topics that were not previously represented in the Eisler collection, and thus close a significant gap.

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