Franz Grabmayr, landscape, oil on canvas, 1984, signed and dated
Franz Grabmayr was born in 1927 in Carinthia. It was only late that, in 1954, he came to painting and began his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna with Robin Christian Anderson. Throughout his life he dealt intensively with the four elements of water, fire, sky and earth. The artist’s pastose, dynamic painting style is unmistakable. Grabmayr did not work with paint tubes in his studio, but he bought the pigments in 25 kilo sacks. He mixed them in buckets with linseed oil, so that the mixture reached a consistency like honey. To this he added eggs and stirred the mixture well.
The 1980s, from which our picture also comes, were a particularly intensive work phase, in which the artist often used unusual methods, as in his “fire pictures”. For example, he mounted a canvas on a tractor and had himself driven around a fireplace to better capture the movement. In this way, he introduced dynamic figuration to landscape painting as well. Earth and ash were mixed with paint and applied viscously to the painting’s surface.
In the 1984 work “Landscape,” the artist may have primarily integrated charred pieces of wood in the lower left corner. As is characteristic of his sand pit paintings, the center is composed of brown tones that dominate the image. The paint was applied to the canvas over a large area with a palette knife. A green, relatively thin stripe runs along the lower part of the painting. The upper third is dominated by white and light blue tones. Although Franz Grabmyar’s painting style is abstract, the motif can be recognized. The unmistakable, extremely pastose and dynamic painting style of the artist was not without consequences, so it became the model for the “Junge Wilde” (“young wild ones”) painting of the 1980s.
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