May 23, 2013 - Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum - Wilhelm Thöny
May 23, 2013

Wilhelm Thöny

Wilhelm Thöny, New York – Brooklyn Bridge, about 1935. Neue Galerie, Graz, UMJ, As a loan from Steiermärkische Sparkasse. © Galerie Welz Ges.m.b.H. Salzburg. Photo: UMJ/N. Lackner.

Wilhelm Thöny
Under the Spell of Modernism
May 24–September 22, 2013

Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum
Joanneumsviertel
8010 Graz, Austria

T 43 316/8017 9100
joanneumsviertel [​at​] museum-joanneum.at

www.museum-joanneum.at

Today Wilhelm Thöny (1888–1949) is considered one of the most important Austrian artists of the first half of the 20th century, who, according to the latest findings, can be ranked alongside such famous painters as Oskar Kokoschka, Herbert Boeckl or the artists of the Nötscher Kreis like Anton Kolig, Franz Wiegele and Anton Faistauer. While these artists have had numerous publications and exhibitions based on current research devoted to them in recent years, a more comprehensive treatment of Thöny’s work still waits to be carried out. (The latest book was by Wieland Schmied and appeared in 1976.)

The Neue Galerie Graz owns some twenty paintings as well as around eighty graphic works of Thöny’s, which largely derive from the estate of Thöny’s widow, Thea Thöny, and which came to the Neue Galerie Collection in 1966 in the form of a foundation. In addition, the Steiermärkische Sparkasse has made over its Thöny Collection to the Neue Galerie as a permanent loan.

The Neue Galerie Graz has, moreover, built up its own Wilhelm Thöny Archive, which preserves personal papers (letters, diaries, photographs, indexes etc.) from the estate of Thea Thöny, and which has been added to successively through acquisitions up to the present day. Up to now this archive has only in part been scientifically evaluated within the framework of exhibitions covering Austrian art from the first half of the 20th century. Numerous pointers have resulted from these exhibitions, which in their interrelation shed new light on the life and work of Thöny.

The planned research project with accompanying exhibition attempts to fill the partially large gaps in the artist’s biography; moreover, it seeks to consolidate the work, which up to now has only been presented and published in portions. As Thöny was born in Graz, and not only spent a part of his life in the city, cultivating personal contacts here, but set in motion key cultural-political initiatives (founding the Grazer Secession in 1923), it is of particular importance for the Neue Galerie Graz that the research into the man and artist that was Wilhelm Thöny be made as up to date as possible. With this comprehensive exhibition and the catalogue raisonné that accompanies it, a long-held wish on the part of the Neue Galerie Graz and the public is finally realised, enabling an Austrian pioneer of Modernism once again to be brought closer to a wider audience.

Curator: Günther Holler-Schuster, Christa Steinle, in association with Angela Fink

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