"Der Polster" "The Cushion". Published by Gesellschaft Fur Vervielfaltigende Kunst, Vienna 1903
I recently bought this stunning unsigned woodblock print at auction without really knowing any thing about it. As so often happens at auction this was catalogued as "other sundry prints" with several other interesting images. It was also a case of me not looking closely at the lot I was determined to buy. I thought I recognised the image from somewhere and felt that it was very good. But despite a bit of googling I could not find it. I left a bid based on the values of the other prints I knew about and luckily it was enough to win the lot.
Once I had the pictures at home and in a good light it was clear to see full information on the original publisher mount !! Who was Maximilian Kurzweil ? and once I had found out what a tragic ending !!
Maximilian Franz Viktor Zdenko Marie Kurzweilwas an Austrian painter andprintmaker. He studied at theAcademy of Fine Arts ViennawithChristian GriepenkerlandLeopold Carl Müller, and at the Académie JulianinParisfrom 1892 .
He exhibited his first paining at the Salon in 1894. He was co-founder of theVienna Secessionin 1897 and was the editor and illustrator of the influential Secessionist magazineVer Sacrum(Sacred Spring). Kurzweil was also professor at theFrauenkunstschule, winning the Villa Romana prize in 1905. His later works show influence fromEdvard MunchandFerdinand Hodler.
Despite his relatively short career, Kurzweil belongs to the most significant representatives of the Viennese Secessionist movement afterGustav KlimtandEgon Schiele.His pictures can be found in many collections, including; Vienna Museum, San Francisco Fine Art Museum, Art Gallery of New South Wales and in the Linz Castle Museum.
And the ending- He committed suicide in 1916 after having shot a female student who was his lover. Perhaps this women is the lover or his wife having just found him out.