Max Weiler (1910–2001) would have been 100 years old in 2010. This is a fitting occasion for the Essl Museum to present the Max Weiler exhibition “The Nature of Painting”. This accompanying catalogue shows about 70 paintings from his abstract period, which was decisive for the work of his later years.
In Max Weiler’s oeuvre, spanning 70 years, the period from 1962 to 1967 assumes a special position. Recent findings confirm that during this time, the artist undertook radical, decisive steps towards abstraction. Inspired by scratch papers, on which he mixed paints and wiped his brushes, he developed picture creations that were based on the analysis of fundamental, purely motoric processes of painting and the flow of colours and binders. After the quasi natural (because it was unconscious) process of the emergence of painting, the artist selected details from these scratch papers and transferred them to large picture formats. The cycle “Like a Landscape” (the title is dated later) not only reveals a new perspective on the entire oeuvre, but also requires a re-evaluation of the artist’s positioning within the history of art. All his life, Max Weiler cultivated a passionate interest in Chinese thought and Chinese art. In the course of preparing the exhibition, a significant parallelism to the Chinese art form of the “scholar’s rocks” emerged. By means of juxtaposition, this aspect is taken into account in this publication, with interesting results.