Woman in a Yellow Dress by Max Kurzweil

Woman in Yellow Dress by Max Kurzweil (1899)

It is would be quite easy for me to play safe and just offer you works of art by famous painters but one of the things I like doing most with My Daily Art  Display is to discover and highlight artists whom I have never heard of before.   I find it very enjoyable and stimulating to research into their lives and searching out their works of art.  I hope by offering you works of artists you have never heard of will also give you some pleasure and maybe make you curious to find out more about their lives and their art.

Today My Daily Art Display is about the Austrian painter and printmaker Maximilian Kurzweil who was born in 1867 in Bisenz, which is now known as Bzenec in the Czech Republic.  He first studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.  At the age of twenty five he travelled to Paris and attended the Académie Julian and it was here that he first exhibited his paintings.  Whilst living in France he visited the Breton harbour town of Concarneau and fell in love with the area, its vivid sunrises and sunsets, its people and the busy port with its sailing ships and fishing fleet.  In 1894 he returned to Vienna and the Academy and studied the art of portraiture.  He began to be influenced by French art especially Impressionism and plein-air painting which showed him the way to use lighter – much brighter colours than those he used before.

In 1895 he married Martha Guyot a woman from Brittany and they used to spend their summers in Brittany and their winters in Vienna.  In 1896, at the age of twenty nine he became a member of the Künstlerhaus in Vienna but the following year he, along with Kustav Klimt, became founder-member of the Vienna Secession, also known as the Union of Austrian Artists, which was a group of Austrian artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus.  This movement included painters, sculptors, and architects.  He was also editor of the Secessionist magazine Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring).  Kurzweil participated in their exhibitions with such paintings as Woman in a Yellow Dress which is My Daily Arts Display painting for today and which Kurzweil painted in 1899.

Maximilian Kurzweil was also professor at the Frauenkunstschule, an academy in Vienna for female artists.  He committed suicide in 1916, aged 49 after having shot a female student who was his lover.  Although his artistic career was cut short he is held in high esteem and ranks almost as high as the two great Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Woman in a Yellow Dress is a stunning painting of his beautiful wife Martha.  Her arms are draped over the back of a chaise longue which is upholstered in a green patterned fabric, as she gazes out at us in a languid and relaxed pose.  There is a supreme look of contentment in her expression.  The yellow dress with its many tones is in total harmony with the sofa and compliments her pale limbs.