Viennese Watercolors of the Nineteenth Centu

Walter Koschatzky, Author ABRAMS $95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1375-2
Whether depicting a harbor, refugees, a battle scene, a tiger or the untouched landscape of open country, the Viennese watercolorists covered here strived for purity of color and dynamic equilibrium. Styles ranged from Peter Fendi's homespun dramas to Thomas Ender's powerful romanticism and the ultra-realism of Moritz Daffinger's flower paintings. In the hands of an artist like Rudolf Alt, watercolor became a momentous medium allowing the intuitive exploration of all things visible. Written by the graphic arts director of the Albertina Museum in Vienna, this historical survey is weighed down by chest-thumping platitudes and generalities. The illustrations, however, are marvelous and the author scores a point by stressing that Austria's Biedermeier naturalism wasn't a retreat into daydreaming, but instead a middle-class turn toward realism. This survey brings to light a vital body of work. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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