Herbert Boeckl

1894 (Klagenfurt) - 1966 (Vienna)

After having been refused by the Academy of Fine Arts in 1912, Boeckl decided to study architecture at Vienna Technical University, and became Alfred Loos's private student. He started painting in 1914 and participated as an officer in the 1st World War. The artist was able to teach himself painting through contacts with famous French and Italian artists on his study trips. In his early work, he adopted an independent, very expressive style and applied paints in a pastose manner. In 1919, he married Maria Plahna who was to become one of his favorite models. He moved from Klagenfurt to Vienna.

A trip to Paris in 1923 familiarized young Boeckl with the art of Modernism. From 1935 to 1939, Herbert Boeckl taught as a professor at the Allgemeine Malschule of the Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna, until 1965, he directed the meanwhile legendary "Evening nude".

During the Third Reich, he withdrew as far as possible from the world of art, working in complete isolation. However, he gave lectures at his studio. The works he created during the War have not yet been published. In the 1940s, he developed a new style based on abstraction trends and on concrete art. Boeckl's painting after 1945 can be considered as an independent answer to international abstract painting.

After the war, Herbert Boeckl became Rector at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, but only for a short time. At the beginning of the 1950s, he travelled to Spain, where his encounter with and intensive study of Romanesque frescos from 1952 led to one of his major works: the painting of the Angels' Chapel at Seckau Monastery. In 1953, Boeckl was awarded the Austrian State Prize for the second time after 1934, in 1958 he received the Guggenheim Prize, in 1960, the Gustav-Klimt Prize of Wiener Secession, and in 1964, the Golden Ring of Honor of the City of Vienna and the Gold Medal for Arts and Science. From 1962 to 1965, Herbert Boeckl again became Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.

The artist's work can be divided into two phases: the expressionistic paintings of his time in Berlin in 1921/22, and the abstract phase after 1945, which influenced many of his students. His work comprises all genres of painting, from mythological history to portraits, still life and landscapes to religious panels. In 1935, Boeckl participated in the World Exhibition in Brussels, and in 1950 and 1964, he exhibited at the Viennese Biennial. His works were also exhibited at the Wiener Secession in 1972, at the Centre Pompidou in 1989 and at the Viennese Galerie Oberes Belvederein 2001.