Elfriede Mejchar


We show works from the “Künstler bei der Arbeit” (Artists at Work) cycle (1954 –1961), her first major cycle of portraits, as well as some from the genre of industrial photography in Austria, which is inextricably linked to the name of Elfriede Mejchar.

From an early period, portraits were an important topic for Elfriede Mejchar. While working for the Secession, she met many young artists, painters and sculptors, both male and female. She visited them in their studios and depicted them in her own way. The resulting portraits show the artists in their working and living environments, in their studios. “I have my own idea of what a portrait is,” the artist states today. The show includes portraits of sculptors from the Wotruba school, including Wotruba himself, Leinfellner, Pillhofer, and others.

After decades of working for the Federal Monuments Office recording art monuments, the step to documenting industrial monuments was a small one. She photographed factories, machines, railway bridges, forges, breweries, and so on, applying the sober gaze of a topographer. She does not aim to see behind things, she contents herself with the dense underbrush of the surface. She has a unique way of presenting these thickets, and succeeds in “preserving what is disappearing” (O. Breicha)

The exhibition includes a number of photographs that have never been shown before.