Wilhelm Nicolaus Prachensky

Innsbruck 1898 - 1956 Innsbruck

Wilhelm Nicolaus Prachensky, painter and architect, is one of the pioneers of Tyrolean Modernism in the inter-war years. His first studies were carried out between 1913 and 1916 at the Staatsgewerbeschule (State School of Applied Art) in Innsbruck. From 1918 to 1921 he studied under Angelo Jank at the Academy in Munich. After going through an expressive phase in the early ’twenties, he chose a style featuring archetypal alpine forms that was influenced by Neue Sachlichkeit in formally reduced pictures of mountain villages and farmhouses. In 1925 he founded the artists’ group “Die Waage” with other like-minded modern artists and from 1926 onwards was involved in a famous exhibition tour of Tyrolean artists through Central European cities. As a graphic artist he contributed key works to the now legendary Tyrolean poster art of the period, encouraged by growing tourism. In 1924 he began to work as an architect and proved in his hotel buildings and furnishing that it is possible to reconcile the market demands of the tourism industry with high quality contemporary artistic design. His paintings were exhibited in the Tyrolean Provincial Museum Ferdinandeum in 1916, 1920, 1921 and 1945. Prachensky was awarded the Austrian State Prize in 1936.