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Famed Austrian Abstract Painter Dies

Famed Austrian Abstract Painter Dies

Adolf Frohner, a leading Austrian abstract painter and graphic artist who helped found Vienna's "Actionism" movement in the 1960s and gained an international following, died Wednesday. He was 72.
Frohner, who once walled himself in behind brick and mortar for three days to explore what it meant to be an isolated observer, died suddenly of natural causes, public broadcaster ORF said. Details of his illness were not disclosed.
His death came just five days after he ceremoniously broke ground on the Frohner Forum, a new museum being built in his name in the Danube River town of Krems, 40 miles west of Vienna, ORF said. It said the gallery would open later in the year as planned.
Born March 12, 1934, in the province of Lower Austria, Frohner moved to Vienna in 1952, and two years later was analyzing contemporary works at the Academy of Fine Art.
"I was shut out of the academy as a young man because I didn't know what a passepartout was," Frohner once said in an interview, using the French term for the cardboard matting used to frame a photograph. "I came from the country."
In the early 1960s, Frohner turned to Actionism, a movement best known for his friend and colleague, Hermann Nitsch, who gained notoriety by painting with animal blood and entrails. The group was criticized at the time for its violent images of bound and raped women.
"But from this provocation emerged one of the most productive art movements of postwar Austria," Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer said Wednesday evening in a statement, hailing Frohner for daring to use art "as an argument against social realities."
Frohner became a professor at Vienna's prestigious School for Applied Art in 1975.
Drawing inspiration from Cezanne and Picasso, he earned a reputation for the images of fleshy female figures he produced in his quest to explore the human body.
Frohner's works are publicly displayed in Vienna's Museum of Modern Art, the Albertina Museum, the Belvedere Gallery, and the Essl Collection on the outskirts of the Austrian capital.
"All of us in the art world are deeply shaken by his completely unexpected death," Albertina director Klaus Albrecht Schroeder told the Austria Press Agency, describing Frohner as "the closest of friends."
Information on survivors and funeral arrangements was not immediately available.


Updated : 2021-04-11 20:45 GMT+08:00