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Davos Mountains in Expressionist paintings by Philipp Bauknecht on view at Museum Würth Künzelsau
Philipp Bauknecht, Lärchen (Berglandschaft, 1912. Öl auf Leinwand/Oil on canvas, 108 x 95,5 cm. Sammlung Würth, Inv. 16277.

KÜNZELSAU.- Powerful colors and compositional freedom are characteristic for the paintings of Philipp Bauknecht, whose life and work are closely linked to the Swiss health resort of Davos. This was where he began his actual work as an artist, as after having passed a technical college for joiners in Nuremberg and a degree from Königliche Kunstgewerbeschule (Royal Academy of Arts and Crafts) in Stuttgart, Bauknecht had to move to Davos in 1910, at the age of 26 after an attack of tuberculosis, and he stayed until his death in 1933.

He experienced both the fashionable resort characterized by rich and intellectual sanatorium guests and the rough, mountainous landscape with its hardworking farmers. All of this finds its reflection in his paintings, watercolor drawings and woodcuts. While still being under the influence of late impressionism and art nouveau at the beginning of his career as an artist, he soon found his way to his own authentic style in the seclusion of his life. In his works, landscapes and everyday life of farmers are turned into immediate, expressive signs of nativeness, power, strength as well as human emotions and action, and with this also of his own state-of-mind.

Analogies can certainly be drawn to the painter, graphic artist and sculptor Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who also worked in Davos, cultivated a personal relationship and exhibited together with Bauknecht. However, it wasn't until 1917 that Kirchner came to Davos, hence, it cannot be assumed that he had an influence on Bauknecht's artistic style. Unlike the work of Ferdinand Hodler with his symbolic image conception, his clear structures and almost plastic reproduction of nature, which had found entry into the early work of Bauknecht. Since 1916, he finally showed a very personal will to express himself, and the colors and forms Bauknecht joined in a compelling manner to dense but spacious compositions gained an every stronger autonomy.

Bauknecht's early death and the following outlawry by the National Socialists made an appropriate reception of his meaningful oeuvre impossible for many years. Only in 1960, it was rediscovered and has ever since been honored in Europe and beyond in numerous exhibitions and publications. Now, the Museum Würth in Künzelsau, in cooperation with the Kirchner Museum Davos and Iris Wazzau Gallery, Davos, shows a comprehensive retrospective exhibition on

Philipp Bauknecht. With over 100 paintings, drawings and woodcuts the exhibition offers an intensive look into a work created in the Swiss Alps in the course of over 20 years. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Swiridoff Verlag.

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