Alfons Walde

1891 Oberndorf - 1958 Kitzbuehel

Alfons Walde, the son of the art teacher Franz Walde, was born on 8 February 1891 in Oberndorf in the Tyrol. After completing his secondary school, Walde enrolled at Vienna’s technical university to study architecture in 1910. He specialized in creative courses on drawing. In 1911 the first exhibition of Alfons Walde’s work was exhibited in Innsbruck with great success and revealed Walde's inspiration from Giovanni Segantini and the late impressionist Max von Esterle. Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, his friend, influenced the next stages in the young Walde's artistic development. Schiele encouraged him to explore the sheltered region of his birthplace. After serving in the war of 1914 to 1918, Walde settled in a small town in Kitzbühel. During these years, he developed a very expressive colour language and language of form that could also evoke psychological states, as his masterpiece from this period, Town in Thawing Snow, demonstrates (1920, second version 1927). In the 1920s, Walde benefited from the lively environment of the developing ski resort Kitzbühel. He started designing posters for Tyrolean tourism in 1924 as well as a postcard series showing his characteristic landscapes and snow scenes. Exhibitions such as the Biennale Romana 1925, among others, contributed to his nationwide fame in addition to his permanent presence in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. Certain analogies to the "Neue Sachlichkeit" (New Objectivity) emerged in his paintings in the second half of the 1920s. He captured nature in simple, precise compositions by using clear colours and striking forms. After the Second World War, opposing the politics of the time, he had retreated to his mountain home on the Hahnenkamm, Walde focused on architectural designs. In 1956 he was awarded the title of professor as belated official recognition for his work. Alfons Walde died of a heart attack in Kitzbühel on 11 December 1958.