Nötsch and the Museum of the Nötscher Kreis/Nötsch Circle


The municipality of Nötsch is situated at the foot of mount Dobratsch, right at the entrance to the Gailtal valley. Its small but fine museum of the Nötsch Circle with the current annual exhibition "Im Blickpunkt/In the focus. Isepp, Kolig, Wiegele, Mahringer" is open to the public until the end of October. Furthermore, visit the nearby church St. Kanzian at Saak, where, in addition to a fresco by the Nötsch artist Anton Kolig, there is another fresco worth seeing: a rare depiction of a Gothic so-called "Sunday-Christ". Why not make this a bike trip? It is only 27 km from Villach to Nötsch along the R3 bike trail (Gailtal-Radweg), with an option to go back by train (check the schedules!).

The "Nötsch Circle" is the name, given to a group of artist friends from the first half of the 20th century, who either originate from Nötsch, like Sebastian Isepp (1884-1954) and Franz Wiegele (1887-1944) or made Nötsch their second home, like Anton Kolig (1886-1950) and his student Anton Mahringer (1902-1974). In 1998 a museum was established in the house where Franz Wiegele was born, dedicated to this "Nötsch Circle" by showing annually changing exhibitions.

This year's exhibition features - for the first time in the museum's existence - all four Nötsch artists in one show, entitled "Im Blickpunkt/In the focus. Isepp, Kolig, Wiegele, Mahringer". There is one room allocated to each of the four artists, with paintings on the walls and photos and documents in a showcase. The exhibition starts with a series of male nudes by Anton Kolig and then continues with lyric winter landscapes by Sebastian Isepp, including an embroidered one. Franz Wiegele's oeuvre is covered with numerous portraits of girls and women, while views of mount Dobratsch represent Anton Mahringer's work.

The visitor can thus compare the individual artists of the Nötsch Circle. Actually, the active, artistic years of the four painters may span quite different periods - Isepp's canvases date back to the 1910s, while Mahringer's paintings originate from the 1930ies to the 1970ies. Most clearly evident, however, is the parallel stylistic evolution of Wiegele and Kolig towards expressionism in the 1920ies.

Of all the Nötsch artists, Anton Kolig was certainly the most influential. He was Professor at the Württemberg Academy of Fine Arts at Stuttgart, but during the Third Reich his expressionistic style did not comply with fascist art ideals and when he was deprived of his title as a professor in 1943, he withdrew to Nötsch. Besides, of all Nötsch artists, Kolig's oeuvre is the most multifaceted - he also created Gobelin tapestries for the Salzburg Festspielhaus and frescoes, e.g. for the Klagenfurt Landhaus (House of the Carinthian Estates), which were removed in 1938/1939, shortly after the "Anschluss".

One of his few preserved frescos can be seen near the museum, on the exterior wall of the parish church St. Kanzian at Saak, a district of Nötsch, where Kolig designed the burial place of the Michor family in 1927-29. The fresco depicts a monumental Madonna with child surrounded by four musician angels. Also, this cemetery is the resting place of Anton Kolig, Franz Wiegele and members of the Isepp family.

There is another fresco worth seeing on the exterior of this church, which shows a so-called "Sunday-Christ", framed by all kinds of tools one might think of. The depiction ought to exhort all Christians not to work on Sundays and holidays, because every tool, used on a holy day, would cause pain and suffering to Christ, equal to the tools from the Passion, like the crown of thorns or the nails of the cross.

It’s good to know:

Museum des Nötscher Kreises - Haus Wiegele
9611 Nötsch im Gailtal 39
www.noetscherkreis.at (German only)


21st of April until the 27th of October 2013 
Wednesday to Sunday and Holidays from 2 pm until 6 pm
Entrance fee 6€/adults, 4€/children


Pfarrkirche Saak (St. Kanzian)
Saak 56, 9611 Nötsch


Photos by Ferdinand Neumüller, taken from the museum´s pressinformation

Anton Kolig, Akte am Fenster, 1926, Sammlung: Stadtgalerie Klagenfurt
Sebastian Isepp, Winterliche Landschaft, 1909/1910, Privatbesitz


Pfarrkirche Saak (St. Kanzian)
Saak 56, 9611 Nötsch


Fotos: Ferdinand Neumüller, entnommen der Presseinformation des Museums

Anton Kolig, Akte am Fenster, 1926, Sammlung: Stadtgalerie KlagenfurtSebastian Isepp, Winterliche Landschaft, 1909/1910, Privatbesitz


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