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Hans Fronius

Hans Fronius

*  1903 Sarajevo
† 1988 Perchtoldsdorf bei Wien

Hans Fronius, born in Yugoslavia, moved with his family to Graz at the end of world war I. From 1922 to 1928 Fronius studied at the Wiener Akademie der bildenden Künste with Karl Sterrer and Alois Delug. During this time, he made a number of study journeys to Italy, Germany, Holland, Denmark and France. His artistic role model was Alfred Kubin, who became Fronius' close friend. They exchanged letters ever since Fronius sent Kubin ten woodcuts to Kafka's 'Verwandlung' in 1931. In 1931, he took up a position as an art teacher at the vocational grammar school in Fürstenfeld/Styria, where he worked for almost three decades. After early painting attempts he then concentrated on drawing and woodcuts. His teaching position and artistic work was interrupted, when he had to take part in world war II. After 1945 Fronius began with the large series of illustrations of world literature. Overall, he published 115 books and portfolios. The illustrations for works by Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe were particularly significant as they were known by a wide audience. In 1961, Fronius moved to Perchtoldsdorf near Vienna. After a further three years working in schools, Fronius became a freelance painter in 1963. This marked the beginning of an intense period of creativity which only ended with his death in 1988. Painting became the centre of his producing. Lithographs dominated his printed graphics, later the artist turned to etchings. Due to his spontaneity, his great narrative power and his fantastic imagination, his work was described as 'Expressive Realism'. His thematic range stretched from portraits through literary motifs to depictions of nature and cities. Hans Fronius' artistic work was met with considerable art historical appreciation. Monographic exhibitions and publications are opening up his extensive artistic œuvre, which played a prominent role in Austrian 20th century art history and which has been honoured with many prizes to date.