Markus Prachensky

1932 Innsbruck - 2011 Vienna

Markus Prachensky was born in Innsbruck on 21 March, 1932. In 1952 he began to study architecture with Lois Welzenbacher at the Art Academy in Vienna. At the same time, Prachensky studied painting from 1953 onwards. Together with Wolfgang Hollegha, Josef Mikl and Arnulf Rainer, Prachensky was a co-founder of the gallery „St. Stephan“ in 1956, of which the principal patron was Monsignore Otto Mauer. By 1957, the group was introduced to the public at a large-scale exhibition of the Viennese Secession and Prachensky became a member of the Secession. Whereas Prachensky's early work show strict geometric composition, from the 1960s onwards, his works soon developed an abstract expressiv style of painting. He was significantly influenced by long stays in Paris, Berlin, New York and Los Angeles. Until the mid-1970s, Prachensky's painting concentrated on red shades but, since impressions gleaned in Italy, he enlarged his palette and included shades of black and yellow. Prachensky applied paint with a broad brush in a spontaneous and seemingly uncontrolled manner onto the image. He intuitively created harmonious and expressive compositions. Markus Prachensky is one of the most important exponents of Informel in Austria. Since 1975, Prachensky traveled extensively to Mediterranean countries over long periods of time. He visited Italian archaeological sites, which he experienced as a source of inspiration. Mediterranean landscapes, the colours and forms of Italy, were at the core of the series Markus Prachensky painted during the 1980s and 1990s. From 1983 until 2000, Prachensky taught and directed the master classes for painting at the Viennese Academy of Art. In 1992 Markus Prachensky was awarded the Golden Medal of Honour of the City of Vienna and in 2003 he received the Prize of the City of Vienna for Visual Arts. Markus Prachensky died in Vienna in July 2011.