Friday, 21 January 2011

Viktor Pirkhoff, Part II

Viktor Pirkhoff (Viktor Prikryl)

Forgotten and obscured Czech Artist

Part II

left: Pirkhoff flowering cactus, right: Stanley Bielen (American, 1957-

left: Pirkhoff (Oil) "Ara's", right Norbertine Bresslern-Roth (1891-1978)

Pirkhoff, despite his artistocratic appearance was of modest (farmers) origin. According to his relative Miroslav who send me a complete archive of works by his forgotten and obscured relative. Landscape paintings, animal, portrait and nude paintings.

Reclining nude in Hongarian style and color palet of the period.

Drawings, sketchbooks, woodcut prints and sheet music illustrations. As an artist and entrepreneur Viktor seemed to do well. He married Pauline Maria Axmann (born Veinna 1897, 24 years his younger) He received commissions by the influential, wealthy and even royal and imperial. He was appointment professor and is said to have exhibited worldwide.
Desiging sheet music covers (left, commisioned by famous Franz Léhar) will have been his bread and butter because many are known.

right: Pirkhoff, left Carl Rotky (1891-1977) oils, the Austrian province.

In almost a century this lovely spot and view of Hallstatt (Austria) never changed, not even the boat houses. A tree was cut. The perspective is so accurate that even the horizon of the sitting artist is somewhat lower than the standing photographer 90 years later. See the mountains behind rooftop in the middle were building and muntain range meet.

In the Austrian art scene he must have known and been acquainted with many important artist of the period. He was some 10-15 older as most artists that rose to great international fame later. In the times of Jugendstil, Art Deco and Wiener Seccession. Like Austrians Norbertine Bresslern Roth (1891-1978) Carl Rotky (1891-1977) and Emma Schlangenhausen (see Modern Printmakers Blog-posting of 19 Jan. !) and many others.

Drawings from Pirkhoffs sketch books.

Besides what I already discussed in the previous posting Viktor also studied in the Vienna Art School 1897-1899 and attended painting lessons.

Being a Jew in 1938 he was officially denied practicing as an artist in the Nazi Empire. His grandparents Solomon Kohn and Peppi Plaschkes, his mother Ann Kohnova. He fled Austria to his native and neighboring Slovakia. Sadly members of his family were murdered by the Nazi regime and he had to be in hiding. His sketchbooks show he kept drawing even during the war.
left: Pirkhoff, right Hélène Grand-Tupke (1871-1946) 
These prints (and the parrots) probably originating from the Schonbrunn Zoo in Vienna.
left: Pirkhoff, right: Norbertine Bresslern-Roth (1891-1978)
After the war ended Viktor was banned as an artist by the Communists now in power too. His printing equipment was confiscated and he was forbidden to travel from the East. He died in 1962 forgotten and poor in Brno. Until this week his name was hardly ever mentioned again besides an occasional print showing up in an auction and the signature not even recognized.
The little dog and cricket I found once mislabelled "Bresslern-Roth" in an old auction cataloque.

Comparing Pirkhoffs animal and dogs prints Elisabeth Norton (American 1887-1985) comes to mind too.
I am very grateful Miroslav trusted me in this effort rehabilitating Viktor Pirkhoff. In this Part II examples of his divers work and some thoughts and comparisons.
In Part III (soon) I will show you a selection of his many woodblock flower prints.
You are invited to leave a comment and send me any further facts you might know about Viktor Pirkhoff.

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