The life of Josef Floch takes place against the background of drastic political, cultural and social changes. Already during his lifetime he made his breakthrough in three of the most important art metropolises of his time - Vienna, Paris and New York. As one of the most internationally successful visual artists of Austrian origin, Floch saw his paintings right up to the end as an antithesis to abstraction and expressionism.
His first training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna still took place in the environment of the heyday of Viennese art around 1900. At the early age of twenty-three he had his first one-man show in Vienna. In 1919 he became a member of the Hagenbund. From 1922 onwards he began a lifelong intensive journey, first to Palestine and Egypt, then to various European cities. With his move to Paris in 1925, he joined the international avant-garde. After exhibitions at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Tuileries, the solo exhibition at the renowned Galerie von Berthe Weill in 1929 marked the climax of his artistic and financial success. His social environment included both Austrian and international artists, but he always maintained contact with Vienna. In 1934 the Hagenbund dedicated the focus of his collective exhibition to Josef Floch and in the same year he married the Viennese Hermine Fränkl. In 1941 he managed to emigrate to New York, where he soon gained a foothold thanks to a network of European emigrants such as the art historian couple Tietze. He was regularly exhibited in American museums, teached at the New School, and was involved in the Associated American Artist Gallery. In 1951 he became an American citizen, travelled regularly to Paris after 1946, and visited Vienna for the first time again in 1955. The Austrian Belvedere Gallery dedicated a large solo exhibition to him in 1972, before the artist died in New York in 1977. At the center of Floch's art is form, which for him means a "mental experience". Classicist painting, by Gauguin, Cézanne, and above all Hans von Marées' paintings are characteristic of Floch's turn towards clear geometry and bright lighting. Landscapes, portraits and figure paintings are the central themes in Floch's paintings and drawings. In Paris he also painted the important series of dog motifs and between 1932 and 1936 the so-called Terrace Paintings. The often motionless, melancholic mood of his paintings echoes magical realism and surrealistic moments. In the USA, the Flochs palette became darker, the colors richer, and the light more and more a carrier of mood. Big city motifs, skyscrapers and street canyons are processed in a distanced and cool way, which are related to the painting of the American Edward Hopper. During his lifetime, Josef Floch was honoured with several international awards, including the Golden Cross of Merit of France. His paintings are now in international museums, including New Zealand, the USA, France and Israel, and are regularly traded on the international art market. Since 2016, a painting from 1927/28, which was sold for over 270,000 euros, has marked the sales record.