Wilhelm Thöny

Graz 1888 - 1949 New York

Born in 1888 in Graz, Wilhelm Thöny was blessed with many artistic talents. In 1908 he opted to study painting at the innovative Munich Kunstakademie. In his “Graz period” 1923–1931 he quickly developed his typical style, a synthesis of impressionist and expressionist styles, initially dominated by a gloomy blend of white washes. The representation of people and (city) landscapes is permeated by solitude and gloom. In 1923 Thöny became the first president of the Graz Secession.
Following a trip to Paris in 1929, he moved to the vibrant Seine metropolis in 1931. The atmosphere of France caused a fundamental change in Thöny’s paintings; new fresh pastel shades and the relaxed painting style express Mediterranean joie de vivre. In 1938 Thöny and his Jewish wife emigrated to New York. Homesickness and a big warehouse fire in 1948 that destroyed almost 1,000 of his works deeply shocked the artist. Wilhelm Thöny died in the following year in New York.