Throughout his lifetime, Alfons Walde took
inspiration from the natural beauty of his native Tyrol, but just as much
so from the local people and culture. Many inhabitants were farmers, and
they were the subject of many of his paintings. These paintings feature
a characteristic mannerism traceable to many of Walde's works, namely that
of depicting his human subjects as a "function" of their natural
environment. He chose a style that leaves his human figures, be they in
motion or standing still, virtually lifted of their individuality, one that
emphasized the harmony of human beings as an active part of their natural
environment instead. The sketch-like technique that Walde used to represent
human faces are a distinct element of this style.
Around 1926, Walde's artistic intention developed
a new focus. It was no longer the genre-induced "comfortable scenario"
that interested him, as he turned instead to a conception of man rooted
in the concepts of work, fate and daily existence (See especially his works
Holzknecht [Lumberjack], Bauernmutter [Farmer Mother] and Ofenbank [Oven
With respect to both theme and form, Walde's
work is probably most closely related to the figural work of the Austrian
artist, Albin Egger-Lienz. However, Walde's living scenes retain a decidedly
more positive note, as he preferred not to approach "life and death"
subjects directly in his paintings - something that Egger-Lienz did ever
more frequently in his later work.
A quote attributed to Gustinus Ambrosi: "No person with an understanding
of your (Walde's) art would possibly compare you to Egger-Lienz. I mean,
he (Egger-Lienz) may also have the large surfaces, but he doesn't have the
form. You have the necessary youth, the strength to pursue form."
Walde responded: "I would never
deny that Egger has had an influence on me. I hate lying... but I made those
small paintings with themes of farm life at the age of 18, before I even