Alfons Walde

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Cover of a monography (ISBN 3702216413) showing the typical painting style of Walde

Alfons Walde (8 February 1891 - 11 December 1958), an Austrian from Kitzbühel in Tyrol, was the first artist to successfully bring skiing as a subject into painting. These sporting scenes together with his winter landscapes and farming images, rendered in a unique tempera style with impastose colouring, complemented his other artistic gifts as both an architect and graphic artist. Many of his paintings can be seen in the Museum gallery in Kitzbühel.

Alfons Walde produced his first watercolour and tempera paintings during his schooldays. From 1910 to 1914 Walde studied architecture at the Technische Hochshule in Vienna. At the same time he continued his education as a painter, In the Danubian metropolis he moved in artistic circles that included Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, and he became influenced by Ferdinand Hodler.

In 1911 Walde had his first exhibition in Innsbruck; and in 1913 presented four farm pictures at the prestigious Vienna Secession exhibition. From 1914 to 1917 he actively participated in World War I as a Tyrolean Kaiserchutze in the high mountains. After returning to Kitzbuhl, he fully devoted himself to painting and participated again in exhibitions of the Secession and the Vienna Künstlerhaus throughout the 1920s.

By around 1928 Walde had finally found his own characteristic style, one that gave expression to both the Tyrolean mountain scenery - particularly the living winter landscapes - and its robust people through the use of highly reduced drawings and pastel colouring. Throughout the rest of his artistic career his work stayed with the subject of his homeland, and retained the same distinct native style.

The impressionistic, momentary feelings conjured up by Walde's paintings gave them a unique and characteristic place in international art history. This was reflected in the many exhibitions of his work, his entries to painting and architecture competitions, and the awards he received. Alfons Wade died on 11 December 1958 in Kitzbühel.

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