Museum of the Nötscher Kreis

Karl STARK, Abendwolken im Drautal, 1987, Öl/Leinwand, Sammlung Hainz, Wien

Archive of the Exhibition of 2021

Karl and Elfriede STARK

Living for art

Exhibition in the Museum of the Nötscher Kreis
vom 25. April bis 31. Oktober 2021

In addition to presenting the works of the Nötsch painters‘ group, one of the main concerns of the Museum of the Nötsch Circle is to highlight and make visible their diverse contacts with the most varied intellectuals and artistic personalities of the 20th century. Therefore, this year’s exhibition is dedicated to the artist couple Karl and Elfriede Stark, who were always intensively connected to the Nötsch circle both intellectually and artistically as well as spatially.

Karl Stark, born in Styria in 1921, was one of the few important Austrian artists who continued the expressionist tradition in painting and developed it further in an independent way. Already at the beginning of his work he was under the influence of the local early expressionists such as Richard Gerstl, Jean Egger, Herbert Boeckl and Anton Kolig. Stark largely shared the latter’s views on art and was also familiar with the works of the other representatives of the Nötsch circle, whom he greatly appreciated throughout his life. As a young student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, he had still met Kolig personally and, as for the latter, colour was also for Stark a form and light carrier that evoked spatiality, bodies and moods. In Stark’s work, the texture and forms of the depicted objects emerged from dynamic layers of paint, shaped by his unmistakable, spontaneous, gestural handwriting, which he had increasingly perfected in the course of his in-depth study of painting and which became a central means of expression in his work.

In Elfriede Petrasch, daughter of a Klagenfurt merchant family, Karl Stark found his congenial life partner, who shared his passion for art and also practised it herself until a visual impairment that set in in 1953 led to her going blind ten years later. After that, she devoted herself to literature, especially to writing poetry. Carinthia played an important role in the lives of the artist couple from an early age and became their second centre of life alongside Vienna. They owned a house in Radlach in the Upper Drau Valley and the surroundings there became an essential motif in Karl Stark’s oeuvre.

This exhibition therefore aims to provide an insight into Karl Stark’s painting style through characteristic Carinthian landscapes combined with portraits and still lifes.

Exhibition curator: Sigrid Diewald

Karl und Elfriede STARK 2021
Folder Ausstellung 2021 (pdf)