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Alfred Hrdlicka - vendere e comprare opere

27 February 1928, Vienna (Austria) - 5 December 2009, Vienna (Austria)

Alfred Hrdlicka was an important Austrian sculptor, draughtsman, painter, and writer. He is considered a political artist, many of his works being memorials warning against war and fascism. The material he preferred for his sculptures was stone.

Hrdlicka’s youth was marked by the political turbulences of the interwar period and the regime of National Socialism. Through his father, a Communist trade union functionary, Hrdlicka became aware of political problems at an early age. The focus of his work is on the traumatised people of the post-war years, with pain and sorrow inscribed in his expressive figures.

Between 1946 and 1957, Alfred Hrdlicka studied painting under Josef Dobrowsky and Albert Paris Gütersloh and sculpture under Fritz Wotruba at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. In 1964, when Hrdlicka represented Austria together with Herbert Boeckl at the 32nd Venice Biennale, he achieved international renown.

Throughout his life, Hrdlicka was committed to the fight against war, violence, and fascism. His most important work, the Monument of Admonishment against War and Fascism, stirred fervent controversy when it was installed on Albertinaplatz (Vienna, 1983/88).
In addition to his sculptures, Hrdlicka also produced series of paintings, drawings, and etchings, such as the Plötzensee Dance of the Dead and works dealing with the French Revolution, the peasants’ revolts or the Revolutions of 1848. Moreover, he designed numerous stage sets.

Alfred Hrdlicka held several professorships. For example, between 1973 and 1975 he was a professor at the Hamburg Art Academy and between 1986 and 1989 had a chair in sculpture at the Berlin University of the Arts. In 1989 he was called to the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His teaching method was quite controversial, as he turned his back on abstract art, which he felt was “bloodless”.

As Oskar Lafontaine put it in his preface to Alfred Hrdlicka, Zeichnungen, a volume published in 1994, Hrdlicka’s work was guided by “a ruthless humanism that also displayed murder, terror, and sexual brutality with sometimes shocking clarity.” For him, art was first and foremost a means of political agitation and a mouthpiece of the oppressed and politically and socially persecuted.