Showroom | Wilhelm Thöny

Wilhelm Thöny,

1888 Graz - 1949 New York

watercolour on paper
33,3 x 41,7 cm
signed, dated and dedicated upper left: "Lola in herzlichster Zuneigung, W. Thöny, Paris 1937"

Provenance: Lola Humm-Sema(?), Ascona / Switzerland; Ruth Rings, Brissago / Switzerland; private collection, Switzerland


Wilhelm Thönys artistic inclination and talent for music and painting were discovered early on in his life. He trained both as a musician and as an artist, first in Graz and from 1908 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under Angelo Jank and Gabriel Hackl. In 1913 he became one of the founding members of the New Munich Secession and in 1923 of the Graz Secession. In 1931 the artist moved to Paris. In 1934 he was awarded the Austrian State Prize for his artistic achievements. In 1938 he emigrated to New York. During the early years of his career, Thöny used thick and strong colours, creating a three-dimensional effect. Upon his move to Paris, his palette became increasingly lighter and his motifs also changed under the influence of his new surroundings. Paris and the sunny South of France became recurring motifs, painted in a light, bright and breezy manner. Thöny was also a highly gifted draftsman. While his early drawings remained clear and formally unambiguous, his style changed towards a sfumato effect in later years. His emigration to New York brought with it a new and important motif - that of the skyscraper. In his late oeuvre, Thöny seemed to return from these light, subtle and visionary depictions to his former heavy, opaque and rigid motifs, seeking to find answers to imperative questions. Thönys artistic importance and the quality of his oeuvre were recognised and honoured early on in his career. The many exhibitions of his works are a testament to his success.

Oil on canvas
50 x 30 cm
signed lower left: "W. Thöny"

Literature: Exhib.-cat. "Wilhelm Thöny - Im Sog der Moderne" including the cat. raisonné of oilpaintings, ed. by Günther Holler-Schuster and Christa Steinle, Neue Galerie Graz / Universalmuseum Joanneum, Bielefeld 2013, cat. rais. no. 154

Provenance: Private collection, Vienna