Olga Wisinger - Florian

Olga Wisinger - Florian

Wisinger-Florian was born and lived all her life in Vienna. She began private art lessons at age 19. Frustrated with her progress and the quality of the instruction, she followed her parents' wishes and trained as a concert pianist with Julius Epstein. From 1868 to 1873 she had some success as a pianist, until a hand injury forced her retirement from the piano.

At age 30, Wisinger-Florian returned to painting, and devoted herself wholly to its study. She studied first with August Schaeffer and then with Emil Jakob Schindler. When she was 35 she was included in an exhibition of the Viennese Art Association. She was one of only nine women asked to contribute to Die ?sterreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie, a 24-part encyclopedia of the lands and peoples of the Austro-Hungarian empire—of the other women included, Wisinger-Florian was the lone Austrian.

From 1881 she regularly showed paintings at the annual exhibitions mounted at the artist's house and later often showed at Vienna Secession exhibitions. The work she showed at the Paris and Chicago international exhibitions earned her worldwide acclaim. Wisinger-Florian exhibited her work at the Palace of Fine Arts and The Woman's Building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. The artist, who was also active in the middle-class women's movements of the time, was awarded numerous distinctions and prizes. Wisinger-Florian's early paintings can be assigned to what is known as Austrian Mood Impressionism. In her landscape paintings she adopted Schindler's sublime approach to nature. The motifs she employed, such as views of tree-lined avenues, gardens and fields, were strongly reminiscent of her teacher's work. After breaking with Schindler in 1884, however, the artist went her own way. Her conception of landscapes became more realistic. Her late work is notable for a lurid palette, with discernible overtones of Expressionism. With landscape and flower pictures that were already Expressionist in palette by the 1890s, she was years ahead of her time.

Despite her late start as a painter, Wisinger-Florian enjoyed renown in fin de si?cle Vienna. Her work was included in the 2019 exhibition City Of Women: Female artists in Vienna from 1900 to 1938 at the ?sterreichische Galerie Belvedere.