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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Olga Wisinger-Florian

Gloxinias in the glasshouse, Olga Wisinger-Florian
When one line of work fails, it's nice to have something else to fall back on. I was once a modestly successful painter and teacher. I got tired of the marketing rat race so after retiring from teaching I decided to become a writer, a pursuit I'd once seriously considered before going to college. Now I've got a book out (Art THINK), online art appreciation lessons (mostly for parents home-schooling their children), and I write internet content having to do with art. The Austrian artist Olga Wisinger-Florian was a pianist. Her father was a councilor at the Cabinet Office of the Habsburg Monarchy.

Rustic Kitchen Interior, ca. 1890, Olga Wisinger-Florian
Although she began private art lessons at the age of nineteen, Olga became frustrated with her progress and the quality of the instruction she was receiving. So, she followed her parents' wishes and began training as a concert pianist with Julius Epstein. From 1868 to 1873 she had some success as a pianist, until a hand injury forced her retirement from the instrument.
Wisinger-Florian was born in 1844 and lived all her life in Vienna, Austria.
In the mid-1870s, at the age of thirty, Olga Wisinger-Florian returned to painting as a student of the painters Melchior Fritsch, August Schaeffer, and Emil Jakob Schindler. Around 1881 she began regularly showing her work at annual exhibitions mounted at her home and later with those of the Vienna Secession. The work she showed at the Paris and Chicago international exhibitions earned her worldwide acclaim. She was also active in women's movements of the time, earning numerous awards, prizes, and distinctions. Wisinger-Florian worked tirelessly to promote the exhibition of women’s paintings. Along with Marianne Eschenberg she formed the "Eight Women Artist" in 1901, curating a highly successful exhibition at the Salon Pisko. From then on they held annual exhibitions. Olga was also active in the Association of Women Writers and Artists of Vienna, founded in 1885 to promote women's professional interest and eventually to offer a pension plan for women artists in need. This paralleled the self-help efforts offer by men-only artists unions.
The Beach of Etretat (Normandy), Olga Wisinger-Florian.
Here she might have rubbed elbows with Monet.
Wisinger-Florian was an impressionist, and had she lived in Paris, would today probably be con-sidered one of the major artists in the movement. She was an impressionist before such art be-came popular. Her early paintings have been assigned to what has become known as Austrian Mood Impressionism (though I'm not sure exactly what that distinction might be). In her landscape paintings she adopted Jakob Schindler's sublime approach to painting nature. The motifs she em-ployed, such as views of tree-lined avenues, gar-dens and fields, were strongly reminiscent of his work.
Autumn Leaves,
Olga Wisinger-Florian
Im Grunen (Among the Greenery), Olga Wisinger-Florian
After a break with Schindler in 1884, Olga went her own way. Her conception of landscapes became more realistic. Her late work is notable for a lurid palette, with discernible overtones of Expressionism. Her landscapes and flower paintings were already expressionist in palette by the 1890s suggesting she was years ahead of her time. Today, Olga Wisinger-Florian's works hang in galleries throughout Germany and Austria as well as in private collections.

If you're dissatisfied with your first effort, try again.
Throughout her life Olga strived for the best social contacts. For example, Archduchess Clothilde, Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria and the King of Bulgaria visited her studio. The circle of buyers of her works also included high-ranking personalities such as the Emperor Franz Joseph I, who bought one of her paintings. Later in life, having made an international name for herself as an impressionist, Olga began teaching other women to paint. However, in her final years the artist suffered from cancer and a heavy eye disease. Olga Wisinger-Florian died in Grafenegg, Austria, in 1926 at the age of eighty-one.

For some unexplained reason, Olga had a liking for barnyard scenes.
From the upper one, you can almost smell the hogs.

Waterfall (or Mill at Hartenstein),
Olga Wisinger-Florian


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