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Group at the Edge of the Wood, 1920

Leopold Museum,
Vienna © Herbert Boeckl estate,
Oil on canvas
168.2×158.9 cm


  • Herbert Boeckl

    (Klagenfurt 1894–1966 Vienna)

Currently on display at EG
This painting was made ahead of the many journeys Boeckl (1894–1966) would go on to take throughout the early 1920s that brought him to Paris, Berlin, and Sicily. The painter presented here a portrait of himself and his wife, Maria Boeckl. Just a year prior to its painting, in 1919, the artist was married to Maria, whose maiden name was Plahna. In time, she became the mother of his nine children. She often modeled for the painter, specifically for nudes, as she has in this painting. The nude female form planted in an idyllic rural setting points symbolically toward the Primeval. The clothed, civilized figure of the man opposite her thereby acts as a thematic antithesis, as well as a spatial counterpoint. Accompanied by two crouching dogs, both figures appear as archetypes within a lakeside landscape. Using unusually strong and passionate brushstrokes, Boeckl seems to peel the figures out of their painted surface. The apparent force and dynamism of the brushwork seem to erase any contradictions that may exist between coarseness and grace.

A closer look

The artwork explained by
art expert Alexandra Matzner


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Object data

  • Herbert Boeckl
Group at the Edge of the Wood
Art movement
Oil on canvas
168.2×158.9 cm
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 632
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Wien 1900. Aufbruch in die Moderne, hrsg. von Hans-Peter Wipplinger, Wien 2019 (Ausst.-Kat. Leopold Museum, Wien, ab 15.03.2019).

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Herbert Boeckl, Wien (1920-1966); (1)
Maria Boeckl, Wien (1962-1976); (2)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (o. D.);
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 1994).

  1. Claus Pack, Der Maler Herbert Boeckl, Wien u. München 1964, S. 9, Tafel I (Vermerk: im Besitz des Künstlers).
  2. Klebeetikett des Museums Moderner Kunst, Wien auf der Rückseite: „ LG von Maria Boeckl (seit 1962)“; Gerbert Frodl, Herbert Boeckl. Mit einem Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde von Leonore Boeckl, Salzburg 1976, Tafel 6, S. 169, Nr. 20; Agnes Husslein-Arco (Hg.), Herbert Boeckl, Wien 2009, S. 339, Nr. 36

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