Contemporary Art

This category concentrates on contemporary art & artists.

Vienna School of Fantastic Realism – Erich (Arik) Brauer

Arik Brauer (Hebrew: אריק בראואר‎; born January 4, 1929) is an Austrian painter, draughtsman, printmaker, poet, dancer, singer and stage designer. He resides in Vienna and Ein Hod, Israel. Brauer is a co-founder of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism, together with Ernst Fuchs, Rudolf Hausner, Fritz Janschka, Wolfgang Hutter and Anton Lehmden (Wikipedia from 3.4.2015)

copyright Joram Harel

(Image by Joram Harel, signed by Arik Brauer 4.12.1981 – all rights reserved to copyright holder !)

On occasion of the 85th birthday of Brauer, the Leopold Museum in Vienna exhibited a wide range of his over. (

“With his bizarre and fantastical shapes and unique manner of painting in the style of the Old Masters borrowing from medieval miniature techniques and oriental traditions, Brauer defied the mainstream of the strictly dogmatic art movements of post-war Modernism. Instead, he cultivated a style that was to once again capture the imagination and accommodate the art of storytelling and joy of invention. Arik Brauer has enjoyed great popularity all his life, not least on account of his multi-talent as a singer, songwriter, poet and dancer.”

One of his first exhibitions in Germany was at the Gallery Sydow in Frankfurt in 1964. On occasion of this exhibition, an exhibition catalogue was published in an edition of 3000 out of which 99 were numbered and a print was added. This catalogue is shown here:

Brauer_Katalog Sydow Brauer_Katalog Sydow Druck

(copyright Erich Brauer, all rights reserved)

Peter Pongratz – “Soul.Painting.”

Peter Pongratz was born in Eisenstadt/Austria in 1940. He studied Arts at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien and at the Hochschule der bildenden Künste Berlin and was Assistant from 1966 bis 1970 Assistent for Max Weiler in Vienna.

In 1968  Pongratz founded  die artist group “Wirklichkeiten” together with mit Wolfgang Herzig, Martha Jungwirth, Kurt Kocherscheidt, Franz Ringel und Robert Zeppel-Sperl. (see Wikipedia )

Actually, the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg ( is showing a retrospective of Peter Pongratz from march 18th -to june 2015.

The following picture shows he book “Soulpainting” in a luxury edition of 40 with a colored ink drawing.

Amazing edition.


Max Ernst, Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning – catalogue No.58

” What is the surrealism which Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning and Man Ray are witnesses here?”

In 1938, the invitation of international Art Exhibition in Amsterdam in 1938 under a nice picture of Max Ernst you can find an answer: “The surrealism is not a literary or artistic school . It is a mental state. In our times, only the imagination can bring the feeling of liberty to the menaced mankind.”

This is an exhibition catalogue of the 3 painters, called “Max Ernst, Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning : trois painters américain, due tourangeux-un parisien”. The exhibition has taken place at the Museé des Beaux-Arts de Tours form november 10th – december 16th 1956. This catalogue is one out of 100 numbered catalogues and signed by all three artists. Nice and rare giving homage to all three painters.


“Heimo Zobernig on Heimo Zobernig”

As hommage to Heimo Zobernig : “Without title. 2015”

Heimo Zobernig auf Heimo Zobernig

Zobernig Buch 2

Zobernig Buch 3


The exhibition took place in Esslingen / Germany from may 25 1997 until july 20th 1997. On show were items from H. Zobernig created by him since 1985, so it was a kind of retrospective. For this exhibition, Zobering created a book edition where he put colored transparent paper between the black/white paper and he covered the catalogue with grey carton (on the front and back). The invitation card he glues at the front side of the carton.

(see also “Austelung Katerlog”, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, 2003)

Zobernig Tisch

Ernst Fuchs – “Der Triumph der Sphinx”

Ernst Fuchs, one of the founders of the Viennese School of Fantastic Realism worked closely with the Galerie Sydow in Frankfurt. 1966, Ernst Fuchs made an exhibition, called “Sphinx” at the Gallery Sydow in Frankfurt, from which I want to show some correspondence between Fuchs & Sydow happening just before the exhibition . Fuchs especially mentions his works “der Triumph der Sphinx” and “Puttos Traum”. The correspondent pictures of the works are displayed as an extract from the exhibition catalogue, which was produced in a limited version of 3000. (all copyrights to the below pictures are to Ernst Fuchs)




Sphinx_2 Fuchs_Puttos Traum

Ileana Sonnabend – a selection of artist catalogues mostly from the “arte povera” movement

This time I can show an interesting selection of small catalogues of the gallery Sonnabend.

I was very amazed about this small little catalogues which I could acquire at a nice book shop in Vienna and I felt they have a kind of “special”. I like the small & little ones because the description to read is not too much and – for me – to the point.

ANSELMO, MERZ, ZORIO – important artists of the arte povera movement.


The Columbia university of New York describes the following about Ileana Sonnabend on one of their websites ( “Ileana Sonnabend’s pioneering efforts in the promotion and dissemination art have long been celebrated. Less known is Sonnabend’s early and unceasing dedication to European art of the sixities and senventies, particularly to the art of Italy.

Late in 1962 Michael and Ileana Sonnabend opened the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend in Paris, where they exhibited the work of American artists but also the work of several young Italians, beginning with Mario Schifano (1963) and Michelangelo Pistoletto (1964). In addition to Pistoletto, Ileana Sonnabend showed the work of Giovanni Anselmo, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Giulio Paolini and Gilberto Zorio, both in Paris and in the New York gallery that she had opened in 1970. In this way, Sonnabend played a seminal role not only in introducing American art to Europe but also in bringing contemporary European art to America.

The “Arte Povera” was a group of twelve artists: Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Guiseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gilberto Zorio. They produced one of the most authentic and independent European artistic interventions of the late 1960s. Pitted in certain ways against the hegemony of American art, specifically that of minimalist sculpture, it was also an artistic movement that recuperated the contradictory legacy of Italian avant&garde culture from the beginning of the century as defined in the dialectics of Futurism and Giorgio De Chirico’s Pittura Metafisica.”

If you look at those covers of those catalogues  – they are all produced around end of the 60-ies – they still look so modern after more than 50 years of their production.


Arte Poveri

Mario Dalpra – “Listen to your inside emotions”

Mario Dalpra is an Austrian contemporary artist. He learned with Arnulf Rainer. Mario makes different kind of artwork. For me, his oevre is plenty of fantasy and emotions. I like his sculptures which have varieties in all kind -forms, colors, shapes. They have all a kind of dynamics and just wait to explored either by your eyes or by your cognitive thinking. Just have a look…

Mario Dalpra dalpra1 Dalpra2 dalpra_g5Dalpra3 Dalpra4



Franz West – The Art of words

In the book “Franz West schrieb”, the editors Mrs. Ines Turian and Mr. Ernst Ulrich Obrist make the so called “Schriebe” of Franz West available to the public.

What are those “Schriebe”? As the editors describe, “Franz West has been writing texts, notes, remarks and aphorisms non-stop since 1975”. It is described, “that he attaches these texts to his sculptures, continuing the sculptural expression linguistically without illustrating or explaining. In places the titles, epithets and text scan raise awareness of the sculpture’s form, in others they can drive the viewer mad or fascinate like the cryptograms of a lingual alchemist. Texts accompany Franz West’s complete oeuvre.”

Allow me to make a link to the famous René Magritte. Magritte is one of the artists, who used words, notes etc. in his paintings as part of “communication” with the viewer and thus tried start a dialogue. The “(art)object” is talking to the “(art) subject” (–> which is the viewer). For me, Franz West further develops that kind of communication, going steps ahead and let the “art subjects” act with his artwork. He integrates “subject” and “object”, let the the “subject” and the “object” get into a symbiosis and thus transform the piece of art into “performance” or  how I want to call it “spiritual capital”.

So I am not wondering that “writing” or “describing” is something important for Franz West´s oevre. He puts it on a same level as his art work or his performances because they just belong together.

As long you are feeling, smelling, reading and seeing you are experiencing and understand what “spiritual capital” is all about.

I am very lucky to be able show one of the original notes (or “Schriebe”) from Franz West. Here Franz West is referring to Theodor W. Adorno (see “under Adornos ice-cold sun of the capitalism” which he writes on a notepad of the brasilian Copacabana Palace hotel.

May the power and the art & color of Franz West´s words inspire you as they inspire me!


Franz west looking at his watch

Arnulf Rainer – overpaintings

Recently I had the chance to dive into the world of Arnulf Rainer´s artistic history : I took a look into old exhibition catalogues which took place in different places of this world… in New York, Cologne (Germany), Venice (Italy), Sao Paolo (Brazil).

Rainer´s main artistic work is the so-called over paintings, which have its roots in surrealistic informal art: extreme reductions, paining with closed eyes etc. In the mid 50ies his works get darker and black. Rainer uses other and his own works of art to create those over paintings: Black coverings with very small rests of the original painting or canvas. Beginning 1966 Rainer made experiments with certain drugs which lead to those -today well known – face farces, which he partly overpainted to make additional accent to those farces. Those paintings were selected for the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1971.

Attached you see a scarce signed catalogue and a scarce signed photograph (signed twice) from Arnulf Rainer, which  I could take into my collection recently. (Please respect copyright of this image which belongs to Arnulf Rainer. No reproduction allowed!)


Rainer, Arnulf_Katalo_Sao Paolo 1971


Rainer, Arnulf