Hoke Giselbert

Warnsdorf (Tschechische Republik) *1927 - †2015 Klagenfurt

Giselbert Hoke was born 1927 in the village of Warnsdorf in Northern Bohemia. 1945 his parents moved to St. Marxen near Kühnsdorf in Carinthia and 1946 to Castle Wolfsberg im Lavanttal. Giselbert Hoke showed early interest in smithery, but at the end of World War II he was wounded serverly and lost his right arm while he was only 17 years old.

After military hospital and war captivity he graduated from school and entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where Herbert Boeckl and Robin C. Andersen where amongst his teachers. There he also met Lehmden, Hrdlicka and Hundertwasser. With the same passion that he had put into smithery he now started his own artistic way and painted in large scale.

1949 Hoke won the competition for the design of the frescoes at Klagenfurt main station. The murals were influenced by Picasso's cubist period and caused the first art scandal of the second republic auf Austria in 1956. Hoke became instantly famous but was hostiled to by the upset citizens. Today the frescoes are listed historic monuments and regarded as "important example of Austrian monumental painting after 1945". 

After this incident Giselbert Hoke retreated to Vienna, 1953/54 he worked in Paris while he had a scholarship from the state of France. 1962 he returned to Carinthia and purchased Castle Saager. He restored the building and added a so called "workhouse" with workshops for enamel and glass.

As a consequence of the scandal Hoke received many assignments: for glasswalls at the University of Vienna, frescoes at Stift Rein near Graz and a "suntower" at highway rest area Twimberg. From 1958 on Hoke worked more often with glass and so he created glass walls for the crematory in Klagenfurt and for St. Florian in Vienna. 1973 Hoke became a member of the Sezession Graz and 1974 he was appointed university professor at the technical university of Graz, where he was the head of the institute for artistic design until his resignation in 1995.

The central motif of Hoke's multilayered work, that also includes lithographies and architecture, are female nudes and landscapes. He traveled to Spain, Peru and Toskana. During his last decade Hoke reduced his pictures to the essential and they became pure painting. Hoke dedicated his last cycle of work "Nada" to the big nothingness, the void. Several mographies about Hoke have been published. He was married two times, had 5 children and died 2015 in Klagenfurt.