The Arbeitsgruppe Alfons Walde (Gert Ammann, Peter Konzert, Carl Kraus, Michael Walde-Berger) has confirmed the authenticity of this work, which will be included in the forthcoming Alfons Walde catalogue raisonné.
We are grateful to Dr Carl Kraus for contributing the essay for the following work.
Magical snow covered landscapes under a deep blue sky, people in their winter habitat or enjoying winter sports, express the untroubled ‘joie de vivre’ of the Tiroler people: through his artistic examination, Alfons Walde obtained an international popularity like few other Austrian painters. Through his native home Kitzbühel, a renowned winter sports area since the 1890’s, he had been bonded to the subject of his paintings since his childhood.
Tiroler Bergdorf, also titled Auracher Kirchl, Auracher Kirche or Aurach bei Kitzbühel was painted by the artist in various different versions, becoming one of his most iconic subjects. It depicts the baroque parish church of St. Rupert between farm houses on a luminous winter day, brought to life by the local women having a passing chat (a typical Walde scene) and other characters, all which for Walde made up an instantly recognisable and striking pictorial language.
Auracher Kirchl was created originally at the height of the Tirolean winter. With it, Walde won the local art competition organised by the Country Transportation Office on the theme ‘Winter Pictures’, and Walde’s motif would be reproduced later on poster advertising for the region (exh. cat. Alfons Walde, Leopold Museum Vienna, 2006, rep. p. 125).
The present lot depicts a very early version of Tiroler Bergdorf with a high level of quality and intact impastoed colour. Particularly distinctive is the bird’s eye view that is not to be seen again in developments of later versions of the church. It is for this very reason the characters are very small and more sketchily represented, but nonetheless contribute immensely to the cheerfully animated atmosphere of the picture. The artist has expertly shaped the light and the deep blue zones of shadows, which give an exceptional brilliance to the representation.