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Summary Article: Huber Wolfgang (c. 1490 - 1553)
from A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Andromeda

The Swiss painter Wolfgang Huber was born at Feldkirch in the Vorarlberg district of Austria. For several years from c. 1505 he traveled through the Hapsburg lands, visiting Innsbruck and Salzburg. The Danube school of landscape painting and the graphic works of Albrecht Dürer, especially his Life of the Virgin series, were the major sources of his early work. The Flight into Egypt (Staatliche Museen, Berlin), from an altarpiece of the Life of the Virgin, is a good example of his combination of these influences. Huber settled at Passau some time between 1510 and 1515 and there established a large workshop. Between 1515 and 1521 he painted an altarpiece for the Stadtpfarkirche at Feldkirch in which the color and linear quality of his earliest work have given place to a less assertive style. In portraiture he at first adopted the style of the Augsburg school and of the Holbein workshop in particular, placing the sitter against a setting of Classical architecture. In later works he favors a sky background, as in the portrait of Jakob Ziegler (c. 1544 - 9; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).

Much of his painted work appears to be lost, however, and he now emerges at his most original through surviving landscape drawings. In the early drawing of the Mondsee (1510; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg) he already declares his independence of the Danube school in the economy of line and description. The foreground is left bare, the background suggested only by a thin, jagged line of mountains, and the effect of distance is created by the placing of the horizontals of the bridge against the line of receding pollarded trees. Later his conception of landscape becomes more subjective; the View of Feldkirch (1523; British Museum, London) concentrates less on the city than on the strange and fantastic tree in the foreground, which by the loosening and thinning of the pen-work appears to be growing in front of the spectator's eyes.

A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, © Andromeda 1995

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