Josef Mikl 1929 - 2008

Brigitte Neider-Olufs, Öst. Kunst in Bildern und Gesprächen, Slg. ÖNB, 2010


Österreichische Kunst in Bildern und Gesprächen

Die Sammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbank

Wien, 2010


Josef Mikl was among the main artists featured by Galerie nächst St. Stephan, which was established in 1956. Otto Mauer, the gallery's founder, characterized him as follows: Josef Mikl is a realistic and objectivistic artist, and he is not ashamed to be such, because he has a distaste of fads and fashions. His interest lies in capturing the structures of the human body and the basics of the landscape, seeking the produce figurative rather than occasional works.“

Mikl's ouevre revolves around the human figure and is characterized by a high degree of abstraction, yet always inspired by figurative elements. The figurative paintings he produced in the late 1960s, such as the „Big Bust“ painted in 1968-1969, are the result of just a few, very powerful brushstrokes. The monumental figures are composed of cubic elements, mostly in the form of pipes, with each element being defined by a single, dynamic broad brushstroke. The figures, typically painted in dark colors (blue, purple or black), are in stark contrast to the bright background. Moreover, the color orange plays a major role in all the phases of his work. He uses this color in many paintings, varying between pale and flamboyant shades, sometimes adding more yellow, sometimes adding more red. Mikl is not interested in details or surfaces. Essentially, he seeks to capture the structure, the tectonics of the human body, echoing the work of the great Austrian sculptor Fritz Wotruba.

His biggest commission was the work, finished in 1997, for the Großer Redoutensaal in the Vienna Hofburg, which had been gutted by a fire in 1992. Mikl redecorated this wall with a total of twenty-two wall murals and one monumental ceiling mural.