Max Weiler in his studio at the academy, 1971

The change of climate in the transition to Weiler's "Landscapes on resonant Grounds" could not be more obvious. The light, the atmosphere and the temperature are all different. The sonorous colours evoke latitudes that are tropical, almost exotic. To continue the geographic metaphor: we find ourselves in the Antipodes here, in the counterworld on the other side of the globe.

It, too, is an artificial counterworld. The conventional optical order of a painting is reversed. We are used to considering the ground of a painting as something of subsidiary importance. Our gaze is drawn to the things the artist depicts in front of the ground, which acts as a light, unobtrusive companion. In his group of works "Like a Landscape" and the "New Landscapes" that followed (after 1974), Weiler himself distributed the optical weights according to that logic. Here, however, he for once reverses that pictorial order.

The ground is now unusually energetic and often darker as well. The extent to which Weiler has reversed the conventional order of colours becomes obvious to us when we think of the nocturnal paintings of, for example, Elsheimer, Le Nain or Rembrandt. All those artists diminish the visible through the absence of light, so that the mere flame of a candle suffices to direct our gaze towards a few discernible figures or objects. Weiler, on the other hand, intensifies the things he depicts through the energy of his ground colour, which alone endows the entire painting with great vibrancy.


Weiler introduced an intentional ambiguity by using the term "resonant grounds" ("tönende Gründe" in German), for "resonance" relates to music as well as to colour. These paintings have a powerful sonority and vibrancy that address our inner sensibility in a very special way. They are thus often considered to have more to do with feelings than with external reality. Weiler's "Landscapes on resonant Grounds" are nonetheless still landscapes; they still deal with nature. Even when he gave colour supreme affective emphasis, Weiler always wanted to represent something he had seen. He kept his distance from the kind of introspective painting produced by, for example, the Surrealists. "This approach is not enfeebled by dreams or moods. It stems from outside myself, has been carefully worked upon, objectively composed, appropriately painted, stopped at the right time and has even forgotten the connection with my being. Does a thread still link the painting to a dream? I no longer know..." (June 1970).

Landscape on ochre, 1969
Egg tempera on canvas
200 x 135 cm
Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz
Docking manoeuvre, 1969
Egg tempera on canvas
135 x 200 cm
Moonscape, 1969
Egg tempera on canvas
150 x 135 cm
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
Red tree, 1970
Egg tempera on canvas
200 x 195 cm
Sammlung der Landeshauptstadt Bregenz
Soon the sun will rise, 1970
Egg tempera on canvas
195 x 95 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
Red mountain, 1970
Egg tempera on canvas
99 x 104 cm
Evening landscape, 1971
Egg tempera on canvas
85,3 x 146 cm
Grass, 1972
Egg tempera on canvas
105 x 130 cm
Early morning air, 1972
Egg tempera on canvas
100 x 100 cm
Tree, 1972
Egg tempera on canvas
200 x 205 cm
Sammlung Univ.-Prof. Dr. Otto Dapunt
Landscape at dawn, 1973
Egg tempera on canvas
200 x 200 cm
With yellow hills and crimson sky, 1973
Egg tempera on canvas
115 x 160 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien