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House of Art
TUE–SUN / 10:00–18:00

Oscar Laske / Building the Tower of Babel (Opus XXXII)

1923

Building the Tower of Babel (Opus XXXII) is one of the key works in the series of satirical philosophising paintings whereby Laske assured himself a place in the place of Austrian 20th century art, albeit in a somewhat bizarre but entirely individual fashion. It is worth recalling in this connection, and not merely because it happens to be located nearby, Laske’s painting Ship of Fools (Opus XXX) in the collection of Silesian Regional Museum in Opava, a work that is similar to our own but displays an even more critical and encyclopedically elaborate view of modern humanity.

LASKE OSKAR

Oskar Laske was the son of the architect Oskar Laske. He began his art education with the land- scape painter Antonín Hlaváček (1888−1889), subsequently continuing at the technical school in Vienna, where he studied architecture under Karl König (1892−1898) and at the Vienna Academy under Otto Wagner (1899−1901). He was first employed as an architect but from 1904 he began to devote himself systematically to graphic art, painting and book illustra- tion. He also worked as a glass designer for Lobmayer. In 1907 he became a member of Hagenbund and joined the Vienna Secession in 1924. Oskar Laske travelled widely and painted many works on the subject of travel. A milestone in his career were large-scale compositions given opus numbers, in which the artist gave free rein to his fantasy and and some of them display social and critical sarcasm. His caricatural depictions of the human condition that are distantly reminiscent of Breughel’s paintings, are akin, in terms of their content, to the grotesque depictions of social reality of the post-war German artists. Nevertheless the element of fantasy that earned Laske his singular place in modern Austrian painting is related more to turn-of-the-century Symbolism.
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The Hradec Králové Master / The Virgin Mary with SS Barbara and Catherine

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Domenico Fetti / Adonis

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