Carl Moll was born on 23 April 1861 in Vienna. He is one of the most outstanding personalities of the Viennese Secession and the Viennese art world around and after 1900. Like no other, Moll understands how to revive the traditional landscape as a virtuoso light painting. Moll dies on 13 April 1945 in Vienna.
Moll’s first training as an artist was with the Viennese landscapist Carl Haunold. In 1880/81 he studied at the Vienna Academy with Christian Griepenkerl, yet his real teacher was Emil Jakob Schindler. Moll was Schindler’s private student from 1881-92 and accompanied him on many of his travels. After Schindler died in 1892, Moll spent three summers pursuing his studies in Lübeck, Danzig and Lüneburg. In 1895 he married Schindler’s widow, thus becoming the stepfather of Alma Mahler. While Moll adopted Schindler’s style of landscape painting that was imbued with atmosphere in the beginning, he later turned to compositions of interiors that are among the most characteristic works of Secessionist paintings. As a co-founder of the Secession in 1897 he played beside Gustav Klimt a significant part in the great achievements and success of this artist association. After ‘eight golden years’, as they were later called, he left the Secession in 1905 with the so-called ‘Klimt Group’. Moll’s landscapes, usually in the square format that was typical of the time, convey a sense of tranquility and harmony. They often show motifs from Heiligenstadt or Grinzing on the outskirts of Vienna and in the immediate vicinity of the artist’s house. What interested Moll most were the changing seasons and how these are manifested in the play of light, which he captured in variations in groups of pictures based on similar motifs. The focus of Moll’s artworks is not so much the representation of the motif as its interpretation. This, as well as the character of the muted, pastel coloring, demonstrates the affinity with Gustav Klimt’s landscapes. Moll, like no other, knew how to revive the atmospheric landscape in masterly light painting. In this sense also, as mediator between old and new, he is a true representative of the Vienna Secession. Moll was one of the organizers of the important Kunstschau exhibitions in 1908 and 1909. Until 1912 he was the artistic director of the acclaimed Galerie Miethke where he organized a wide variety of exhibitions (Waldmüller, Romako, van Gogh, Cézanne). From 1912, private collectors commissioned Moll to travel to Venice, Florence and Rome. In 1930 Moll embarked on his last major trip with his wife to Algeria, where he painted many views of Algiers and street scenes. One year later, in 1931, Moll was awarded the Golden State Medal and was made an honorary citizen of Vienna. In 1938 his wife Anna Moll died. When the Second World War broke out, Moll moved to the former ‘Mahler house’ on the Rax mountain, where he painted his last landscapes. In 1942 he organized an exhibition in honour of Emil Jakob Schindler’s hundredth birthday. After the invasion of Russian troops in 1945, Carl Moll, his daughter Maria and her husband committed suicide.