EDUARD THÖNY

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Introduction/Abstract

Master illustrator, illustration master: Eduard Thöny in the magazine Simplicissimus

Eduard Thöny 1866 - 1950

Munich, just before 1900, on the brink of modernity. The art academy has been a magnet for young people from many corners of Europe. Eduard Thöny, born in Bressanone in 1866, moved to the German capital of art with his father Christian Thöny, a wood carver. He wants to become a painter of battles and studies under masters of this noble art. In 1896 the literary-political satire magazine "Simplicissimus" is founded in Munich. Its colourful images push aside competition from steel engraving. Eduard Thöny is part of the magazine from the beginning and remains with it until its inglorious end in 1944. He illustrates more than three thousand pages of current, critical, polemical drawings for Simplicissimus and showcases a timeless understanding of humanity. 300 of these illustrations become title pages.

He records rural-moral, bourgeois-petty, piqué-feudal and gutter environments. He caricatures farmers, civil servants, the nouveau-riche, prelates, officers, matrons and cocottes. He studies them in beer gardens, salons, the barracks and tennis courts. He devours political news from all over the world. His most famous trademark: the Prussian lieutenant. His greatest love: horses in motion, on the racetrack, in the military.

"Simplicissimus" resists the pressure of the church, heavy industry and Emperor Wilhelm. In 1914, the pacifists become national German fellow campaigners. Thöny becomes a war painter in the Imperial Army. The empires collapse, Thöny becomes a German, and the National Socialists emerge victorious from the post-war confusion. In 1933 "Simplicissimus" is aligned with these developments. The critical spirit is denied. Or banished.

Curators: Gustav Peichl (design), Hans Haider

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