Josef Mikl

1929 Wien - 2008 Wien

Josef Mikl, born in 1929, attended the Higher Federal Institution for Graphic Education and Research in Vienna from 1946-48. He then studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Josef Dobrowsky's master class until 1955. Together with his fellow student Wolfgang Hollegha as well as Maria Lassnig, Arnulf Rainer, Ernst Fuchs, Anton Lehmden and Arik Brauer, he founded the "Hundsgruppe" in 1950 as a progressive gathering place for young artists. The following year he joined the Austrian section of the international “Art Club”. Mikl's early work is characterised by a preoccupation with machines and constructive geometric abstractions. His first international exhibition successes were his participation in the Venice and São Paulo Biennials in 1954. The following year Mikl met Monsignor Otto Mauer, founder of the Galerie St. Stephan and promoter of the abstract avant-garde. In 1956, together with Arnulf Rainer, Wolfgang Hollegha and Markus Prachensky, he founded the "Gruppe St. Stephan", which established its home in the homonymous gallery. At the same time, he turned to Art Informel. In 1957, Mikl became a member of the Vienna Secession and in 1959, he began work on 16 glass windows for the Memorial Cathedral of World Peace in Hiroshima. This was followed by participations in important exhibitions such as the documenta in 1964 and 1977 and the Venice Biennale in 1968. In 1969, Mikl was appointed professor at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, where he directed the master school for nature studies from 1972-97. As a counterpoint to his gestural-abstract works, he increasingly returned to still-life painting from the 1970s onwards. Josef Mikl died in Vienna in 2008.


Josef Mikl. Arbeiten 1980-1987 (mit einer Einleitung von Artur Rosenauer), Wien 1988; Josef Mikl, Arbeiten 1988-1993 (mit einer Einleitung von Artur Rosenauer), Wien 1993; Josef Mikl. Deckenbild und Wandbilder, Großer Redoutensaal, Wiener Hofburg 1994-1997 (mit Texten von Artur Rosenauer und Otto Breicha), Wien 1997