Charles Wilda

Charles Wilda
Charles Wilda

Biography of Charles Wilda ( 1854-1907 )

Charles Wilda was a Viennese artist, who began his apprenticeship in Vienna at the Academy of Fine Art, where he had general painting’s lessons from 1869 to 1876. But the young artist was an undisciplined studient and had to change class many times.

In 1878, he joined the class of the famous Orientalist painter Léopold Carl Müller. The last one wrote a few years latter that « Charles Wilda’s genre paintings are characterized by an attentive observation and an elegant presentation, his colors are more vivid than strong, more shimmering than glinting ». But Charles Wilda, unable to discipline himself, had to leave Müller’s studio in 1879.

With his two friends and compatriots, Ludwig Deutch and Arthur Strasser, he started a trip to Orient. The artists traveled through Egypt on the early 1880’s. Wilda then set up his studio in Cairo from 1882 to 1884. During this time, he exhibited regularly at the Company of Viennese artists, of which he became a member in 1886. He presented many artworks at the Salon of French Artists, like « The dancing girl » in 1883 and « The souvenir’s merchant » in 1884.

In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he shared a studio with an other Austrian painter, Arthur Ferraris, and decided to dedicate himself to Orientalist painting. His precise technique was so original than the artist met great success and obtained many rewards : the Emperor’s Prize in 1895, the bronze medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1900, the gold medal at the Great States in 1904 and the archduke Carl-Ludwig’s medal in 1905.

The prestigious Viennese art critic Ludwig Hevesi wrote in 1903 : « Léopold Carl Müller finds in Charles Wilda an excellent successor… ». 

Wilda died suddenly in 1907, while he were at the peak of his career. The company of the Viennese artists lost a virtuoso painter, very appreciated by his peers. A last hommage was made during an exhibition dedicated to the painter the same year.

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