Willy Eisenschitz

1889 Vienna - 1974 Paris

Willy Eisenschitz was born in Vienna in 1889. In 1911 he started studying at the Academy of Fine Arts. He was interested in the latest art movements, especially the modern impressionist French artists. A year later, Eisenschitz went to Paris, studied until 1914 at the famous Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and married the painter Claire Bertrand. When World War I broke out, he tried to return to Austria with his wife. However, they were arrested in France and interned in a reception center near Angers on the Loire. After the end of the war they were released together with their two children born in the camp.

The year 1921 marked a turning point in Willy Eisenschitz's artistic work. In summer he traveled to the southern French coast and was very impressed by the iridescent light and unique colours. When he returned to Paris, Eisenschitz presented his first exhibition in 1922, which earned him recognition and success.

Between 1925 and 1927, he lived with his family in the health resort Dieulefit, which he visited because of his tuberculosis. The works created there are often inspired by Cubism and emphasize the special mood of this landscape.

In 1935 Willy Eisenschitz obtained the French citizenship, but never lost contact with Vienna. He exhibited in the Vienna Secession in 1933 and maintained contact with Austrian artists such as Josef Floch, Viktor Tischler and Georg Merkel. His participation in the Paris World's Fair in 1937 was awarded a gold medal.

After the outbreak of World War II, the situation for Eisenschitz became increasingly difficult due to his Jewish origin. The family moved to Dieulefit in 1942, a refuge for artists and intellectuals of largely Jewish origin. There he primarily painted commissioned portraits and landscapes under the pseudonym "Villiers".

In the 50s and 60s, the family spent their summers in Ibiza, which made his painting brighter and more intense. Those years were characterized by intensive artistic activity and numerous exhibitions. The painter died on July 8, 1974 in Paris at the age of 85.