Paul Flora was one of Austria’s best-known humorists as well as a draftsman, illustrator and graphic artist. His signature subject matter, ravens, made him a name worldwide. His oeuvre tends towards the macabre and bizarre. Witches and mysterious animals populate his work, which is also permeated by black humour. Other frequent motifs include such atmospheric backdrops as the lagoons and carnivals of Venice. Acrobats fascinated him throughout his life. His talent was discovered and encouraged from an early age. His drawing master introduced him to the renowned portrait painter Max von Esterle. His subsequent studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin* were rudely interrupted in 1944 when he was conscripted to serve in the Wehrmacht. Following the war, the artist became close friends with the graphic artist Alfred Kubin, who became a strong influence on his work. Flora held the first of his many solo exhibitions in Bern as early as 1945. In 1948 he joined the Wiener Art Club. He started drawing cartoons for newspapers including the Neue Zeitung, Die Zeit
and The Times
literary supplement, and as a book illustrator for publishers including Diogenes
in Zürich. He also designed postage stamps and stage sets. He became a member of the P.E.N. club in Liechtenstein in 1999, and served as its president from 2003-2006. Many major galleries and museums have works by Flora in their collections. Erich Kästner described him as a ‘writer of images’, while Friedrich Dürrenmatt called him the ‘thinker and brooder of the caricaturists’.
(Glurns, 1922 - Innsbruck, 2009)
Paul Flora was born in Glurns, Vinschgau (I) in 1922. As a child he moved with his family to Innsbruck, where he lived permanently. His exhibitions in public and private museums and galleries were numerous, he received recognition at European level; twice he had a solo exhibition in the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. His editorial activity is also noteworthy, having published over forty books. Paul Flora died in Innsbruck in 2009.
Some of the most important exhibitions are: 2011, Paul-Flora Museum, Tauferer Tor, Glurns (IT); 2007, Essl Museum - Kunst der Gegenwart, Klosterneuburg/Wien (A); 2002, Palais Harrach, Wien (A); 1999, Schloss Anras, Anras (A); 1997, Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste, Munich (D); 1992, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien (A); 1989, Albrecht-Dürer-Haus, Nürnberg (D); 1984, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg (D); 1979, Museum Nijmwegen, Nijmwegen (NL); 1974, Museum Folkwang, Essen (D); 1972, Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen (D); 1966, Biennale in Venice, Venice (IT); 1963, Wilhelm Busch Museum, Hannover (D); 1959, Kunsthalle Bremen und Maison de France, Berlin (D); 1956, Ausstellung in der Secession, Wien (A); 1952, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck (A); 1950, Biennale in Venice, Venice (IT).