Wilhelm Nicolaus Prachensky

1898 Innsbruck - 1956 Innsbruck

The architect and painter Wilhelm Nicolaus Prachensky attended the Innsbruck State Trade School from 1913 and - after an intervening period of service on the Dolomite Front - the Munich Academy in the class of Angelo Jank from 1918. During his war employment he also painted pictures of emplacements and landscapes. After an expressive early phase, he developed a formally reduced style of painting in the 1920s that was influenced by New Objectivity, making him a pioneer of Tyrolean modernism in the interwar period. His main subject was the alpine world with its mountain villages and farmhouses. In 1925 Prachensky was a co-founder of the artists' association "Waage" together with Ernst Nepo, among others. Later, Rudolf Wacker became a member of the group too. Prachensky worked in Germany, Zurich and Paris. In 1927 he participated in the exhibition "Repräsentative Tiroler Kunst" at the Vienna Secession and in the exhibition of Tyrolean artists at the Nemzeti Salon in Budapest. In 1933 he designed the façade of the savings bank building in Innsbruck's Maria-Theresien-Strasse and the travel agency inside together with his brother Theodor. In 1936 Prachensky was awarded the Austrian State Prize for Painting for a depiction of the Karlskirche in Vienna. In 1945 he founded an architectural office in Innsbruck together with his nephew Hubert, which was mainly concerned with reconstruction tasks and buildings for tourism. During these years, an expressive phase in his painting brought about a turn towards colourism inspired by classical modernism.