Alfons Walde

(Oberndorf 1891 - 1958 Kitzbühel)
Alfons Walde was born on 8 February 1891 in Oberndorf, Tirol. The impressive depictions of everyday life and peasant life in his homeland made him one of the most important artists in the Alpine region. His powerful winter sports motifs and the impressive and monumental winter landscapes of the snow-covered Tyrolean mountains made him internationally famous. Less well-known, on the other hand, is Alfons Walde's quiet, more intimate side, which can be seen, for example, in appealing nudes in which he attempts to investigate the outlines of the female body.
Although Alfons Walde was very interested in painting, in 1910 he started studying architecture at the Technical College in Vienna. In addition to his main studies he also took courses in freehand drawing, life drawing and watercolours. The architect Robert Oerley – who was president of the Vienna Secession in 1911/12 – introduced the young artist to the avant-garde circles of the time in Vienna. In this way Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt had a decisive influence upon Alfons Walde’s early work. Walde’s first exhibition in Innsbruck in 1911 was a success; in 1913 the first exhibition of his work at the Vienna Secession was held. During the First World War he was a front-line officer in the Tyrolean Kaiserschützen regiment until 1918. After the war he settled in Kitzbühel, but he did not break his contacts with Vienna and exhibited at the Vienna Secession once again in 1920. As an architect he designed a number of country houses, including his own house in the mountains in 1929 and the mountain and valley stations of the Hahnenkamm cable car near Kitzbühel. By this time Walde was an exceptionally successful painter. In 1932 he was commissioned to design the first official poster for Tirol. The impact of National Socialism on Austria and the Anschluss marked a difficult and crisis-ridden period in Walde’s life. In the years following 1939 his house was searched on several occasions by the Gestapo and the decline in tourism meant that commissions dwindled. After the war he was incriminated and was even detained briefly. In 1956 he was honoured late in his life with the title of professor. On 11 December 1958, Alfons Walde died at the age of sixty-seven in Kitzbühel.

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Kirchgang, 1933
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Kirchstiege, 1921