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ANTON FAISTAUER
St. Martin bei Lofer 1887 – 1930 Maishofen
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HARBOUR OF AJACCIO, 1926
Oil on canvas, 54 x 73.5 cm
Signed and dated (upper right): A. Faistauer 1926

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While Anton Faistauer’s early townscapes and landscapes encapsulate the soft, impressionistic aura of the moment, in the 1920s the emphasis clearly shifted in favour of a strict formal structure. In a view such as this, everything is subordinated to a clear pictorial architecture and even the natural formations are in accord with the regular shapes of the buildings.
This calculated method is very apparent in the cubic shapes of the houses, which Faistauer has heaped into a ‘bulwark’, while on the left a wall has only partly obscured the view of a range of hills. Faistauer was not so much concerned with conveying a fleeting impression of a picturesque motif but creating a timeless pictorial order. Yet he did not take his dabbling with stereometry as far as the painters of Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). He wanted to achieve both: extreme simplification and moderation in painting but at the same time to retain something of the magic of experiencing nature.
The way in which Faistauer has trimmed the pictorial elements to fit his sparse framework does not foster the cliché of the sweet South, although it certainly does not contradict the character of Mediterranean scenery and architecture. This austere, almost cold touch is softened by the lively aplomb of his painting, and especially through the effect of the colours, which stand out, as always, because of their gentle luminosity.
In the context of the artist’s biography this picture arose from two months spent on the island of Corsica at the beginning of 1926. It is a version capturing a slightly smaller view of the harbour of Ajaccio (Fuhrmann cat. rais. 310), which was hitherto undocumented in the literature.