Oskar Höfinger

1935 (Golling an der Erlauf, Lower Austria) – 2022 (Vienna)

From 1950 - 1952, Höfinger took an apprenticeship as a ceramic modeller with Hans Scheibner in Krummnussbaum, Lower Austria. From 1952 - 1956, he studied with Rudolf Scherrer at the Academy for wood and stone sculpture and from1956 - 1961with Herbert Boeckl at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, where he first studied nude painting. 

In his early works, Oskar Höfinger used religious motifs and was inspired by realism. His first major works were created after nature drawings, carved in stone and wood, mostly showing Christian motifs. In 1961 came a turning point in his career when he moved to Fritz Wotruba's master class.. During his training he turned to Cubistic forms. From 1960 on, he used crystalline forms, dissolving quasi-natural models. He then turned to larger, more monumental forms integrating the effects of light and shadow and breaking and dissolving the closed figurative conception.

From 1961, Höfinger worked as a freelance artist. In 1970, he started creating steel figures (nickel chromium steel structures), different Ways of the Cross reliefs followed. Even in his most abstract forms, figurative elements subsisted. In the 1980s, he designed stained glass windows, painted and made sculptures of porphyry, marble and granite and rearranged geometric forms into abstract forms. His favourite working materials were wood, stone, bronze and stainless steel. The use of these materials underlines the force of expression of Höfinger's works and shifts the formal transfiguration potential in the center, so that his deep-rooted symbolism can unfold through his abstract works.

Oskar Höfinger's art is often compared with Minimal Art, but such comparisons are too superficial: his forms are always linked with meanings, ideas and content elements. His sculptures work symbolically lending shape to things which otherwise would hardly be conceivable.

Höfinger's creative works were made for and stem from both sacred and profane public space. In 1980, his sculpture JETZT was installed in the ORF-Park, Graz, and transferred to the Österreichischer Skulpturenpark in 1986. Additionally, Höfinger was vice-president of the Wiener Secession for 15 years. This artist has achieved interational fame and can be considered as one of the most important Austrian sculptors.