Fritz Wotruba

(1907 - Wien - 1975)
Fritz Wotruba was born in 1907 in Vienna as the youngest of eight children. His style is strongly influenced by the predecessors of modern sculpture, Rodin, Bourdelle and Lehmbruck. During his studies with Anton Hanak, he meets his future wife. He is one of the most important Austrian sculptors of the 20th century. After their studies with Fritz Wotruba, many of his students achieved a high degree of recognition themselves, like Joannis Avramidis and Alfred Hrdlicka. His style is characterized by the geometric abstraction of the figurative elements of his statues. In the era of National Socialism, he stayed in Switzerland, but after his return to Austria he could establish himself as an artist again.
After his apprenticeship with Anton Hanak, he first tried to work with the material stone in 1927. Between 1930 and 1933 Wotruba recorded his first successes. He exhibits at the Kunsthaus Zürich as well as at the Venice Biennale. Through the threat of the National Socialists, he decides to go to Switzerland with his wife. After frequent changes of location, he finally left to Switzerland in 1938, where he remained until 1945. In the year of his return to Vienna he followed Herbert Boeckl's call to the Academy, where he takes over a master class. With Boeckl he maintains a friendship, as well as with the composer Josef Matthias Hauer and Robert Musil and his wife. During the creation period of the "Great Reasons", his wife Marian dies after a long illness. In 1955 he married his second wife, Lucy Vorel. In the following years he attracted international attention, with a traveling exhibition in America and a special exhibition at the Sao Paulo Biennale. Between the years 1960 and 1970, Wotruba received two of his greatest orders: the production of a relief for the Philipps University in Marburg and the so-called "Wotrubakirche" in Mauer. He also shows his works at numerous exhibitions, such as the documenta III in Kassel and the "First International Exhibition of Modern Sculpture" in Tokyo. In 1974 Fritz Wotruba died in Vienna and was buried at the "Zentralfriedhof".

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