Axl Leskoschek: Brazil / Neue Galerie Graz

Until 21.08. 2022

The art of walking upright: The Graz painter, graphic artist and illustrator Axl Leskoschek was considered one of the most important representatives of the left-wing avant-garde between the wars.

Axl Leskoschek had been a politically left-wing activist since the 1920s, who was intensively involved with social democracy and later with the communists. Imprisoned and persecuted several times in Austria from 1934, Leskoschek fled in the course of Austria’s “annexation” to the National Socialist German Reich in 1938, first to Switzerland and then to Brazil in 1940.

The film “The Art of the Upright Walk” by Günter Eisenhut and Reinhild Dertschei, which can also be seen as part of the exhibition, provides an insight into the life and work of the artist, who was also involved in the February 1934 uprising.

In contrast to the majority of artists who emigrated, Leskoschek spent very successful years in Brazil. Not only did he hold a professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro, but he was also intensively involved with illustration work for books by Portuguese and Brazilian authors, but above all for the Portuguese editions of Dostoyevsky’s works.

In addition, he maintained a dense network of artists and intellectuals in Rio. At the urging of his friends and acquaintances, he returned to Austria in 1948 to participate in the reconstruction of the state, but without gaining the same recognition that he had received in Brazil.

Axl Leskoschek (Graz 1889–1976 Vienna) was one of the most important representatives of the Austrian avant-garde of the interwar period. His name is also inextricably linked to the Graz Secession, of which he was a founding member in 1923 along with other well-known local artists.

The exhibition, curated by Peter Peer, is also a tribute to Austrian-Brazilian relations on the occasion of Brazil’s 200th anniversary. Because Axl Leskoschek’s work and life makes it clear: walking upright overcomes all ephemeral populism. 

Axl Leskoschek: Brazil
Neue Galerie Graz
Until 21.08. 2022