Alfons Walde (1891, Oberndorf in Tirol, 1958, Kitzbühel, Austria) was an architect, graphic designer and publisher who gained even greater fame as a painter of Expressionist Tyrolian winter alpine views. Walde was a son of the teacher Franz Walde and Maria Walde (b. Ritzer). In 1892 the family moved to Kitzbuhel, where Alfon’s father was headmaster. From 1903, he attended secondary school in Innsbruck, where he graduated in 1910 with honors. At this school he first showed his artistic skills in the form of watercolor - and tempera paintings. Walde developed his own unique style focusing on people and their houses in high mountain regions, earning him a place among the so-called “magic realists”.

Walde began to study architecture at the Vienna University of Technology in 1910. A friend of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, Walde interacted with artists of the Vienna Secession and this avant-garde movement greatly influenced the composition and the themes of Walde’s early paintings.

He first exhibited his artwork in Tyrol in 1911, and later in 1913 at the building of the Vienna Secession. After the war, Walde returned to his native Kitzbühel, but remained in contact with Vienna through regular exhibitions and art competitions. Between 1914 and 1918 he enlisted and served in the army. Upon return, Walde attended the Technical University of Vienna for the summer semester of 1918 and cofounded the “Chamber of Artists” with artist Albin Egger-Lienz. In 1920, he has his first exhibition with Vienna Secession and in 1924 was awarded first and second prize in a competition of the Tyrolian Traffic Office (theme: winter landscapes). In 1925 he married Hilda Lackner from Kitzbühel. In the same year took part in the Biennale Romana in Rome and was awarded the Julius Reich artists Foundation Prize.

In 1927, Walde was appointed chief architect in project planning and development for the cable car stations in Kitzbuhel and Hahnenkamm. In 1928, Walde was awarded first prize (shared with Painter Rudolf Stolz, from Bolzano, Italy) in a renewed competition to perform commissioned work for the train station in Innsbruck. As Walde became more and more successful as an artist, he founded his own printing company which mass-produce prints of his paintings resulting in a number of forgery cases in the 1930’s. From then on, he printed his pictures at his own publishing shop as posters and postcards and marketed them among the general public. In 1930, after divorcing his first wife, he married Lilly Walter and fathered a daughter and designed his first official Tyrol poster. In 1940 he married for the third time.

From 1946, he dedicated himself to his work on architectural projects and in 1956, on Walde’s 65th Birthday he was awarded the title of full professor . In December of 1958, after suffering for years with heart problems, Walde had a heart attack and died.

Museums: Museum Alfons Walde, Kitzbuehel; Leopold Museum, Vienna; State Gallery of Contemporary Art, St. Pölten, Austria; ESSL Museum of Contemporary Art, Klosterneuburg, Austria.

Sources: Wikipedia.at; www.museum-kitzbuehel.at; www.alfonswalde.com; weimarart.blogspot.com; http://www.kettererkunst.com

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