Arik Brauer, multifaceted Viennese artist, dies aged 92

Austrian president and leading figures pay tribute


The Viennese artist Arik Brauer has died at the age of 92, his family confirmed this morning.
Mr Brauer was a renaissance figure. The paintings he conceived, buildings he designed and songs he wrote in Viennese dialect are a testament to his decades-long contribution to Austrian culture.
Austria has produced few artists like Mr Brauer, the country’s president Alexander Van der Bellen said this morning.
Having lived through the Nazi period, Mr Brauer's voice was critical and his work and political engagement stood for “freedom, democracy, and solidarity”, Mr Van der Bellen added.
Born Erich Brauer in January 1929, he was the son of a shoemaker in the working-class district of Ottakring and was 9 when the Anschluss was proclaimed in March 1938.
Mr Brauer survived the war in Vienna. He began his artistic career at the Academy of Fine Arts where he co-founded the Vienna School of Fantastical Realism in 1946.
Many of his rich, surreal paintings were grounded in Jewish stories, experiences and mysticism, and he found a second home in the artists’ colony of Ein Hod at the foot of Mount Carmel.
The Castra Center in Haifa and the Arik-Brauer-Haus in Vienna are among the architectural projects that survive him and his paintings continue to hang in the Albertina Modern, Vienna’s museum of modern art.
A member of the Austrian Communist Party after the war, in recent years Mr Brauer became increasingly concerned with the threat Muslim antisemitism posed to Jewish life in Austria.
Politicians paid tribute this morning to Mr Brauer’s humanity, humour, and his beautiful, colourful, and sometimes playful work that stood in contrast to the dark times through which he lived.
Austria’s culture secretary Andrea Mayer said, “Austria will remember him as one of its greatest artists”.

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