Artists / Gallery

Hoke Giselbert

Warnsdorf (Tschechische Republik) *1927 - †2015 Klagenfurt

Giselbert Hoke was born in 1927 in Warnsdorf in Northern Bohemia. In 1945 his parents moved to St. Marxen near Kühnsdorf in Carinthia, Austria and from 1946 to Wolfsberg Castle in the Lavanttal. Giselbert Hoke became interested in the blacksmith trade at an early age, but at the end of the Second World War he was so badly wounded that he lost his right arm at the age of only 17.

After military hospital and captivity as a prisoner of war, he passed his school-leaving exams and entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where Hoke worked with Robin C. Andersen and Herbert Boeckl. There he also met Anton Lehmden, Alfred Hrdlicka and Friedensreich Hundertwasser. With the same passion that had previously drawn him to the art of blacksmithing, he now began his own artistic path and created large picture formats.

In 1949 Hoke won the competition for the design of the frescoes at Klagenfurt's main railway station. The wall paintings, which were influenced by Picasso's Cubist work, triggered the first art scandal of the Second Republic in 1956 - Hoke became suddenly famous, but was massively opposed by the outraged citizens. Today, the frescoes are protected as historical monuments and are considered an important example of Austrian monumental painting after 1945.

Giselbert Hoke then retreated to Vienna, and in 1953/54 he worked in Paris with a stipend from the French state. In 1962 he returned to Carinthia and acquired the Saager Castle, which he restored and extended with a workshop house with workshops for enamel and glass work.

As a result of the scandal, he received many more commissions: for glass walls at the University of Vienna, frescoes in the Rein Monastery near Graz and a "sun tower" at the Twimberg motorway rest area. From 1958 Hoke worked more and more often in glass, and so glass walls were also created for the farewell hall in Klagenfurt and St. Florian in Vienna. From 1973 Hoke was a member of the Graz Secession and in 1974 he was appointed university professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the Graz University of Technology and was entrusted with the management of the Institute for Artistic Design, which he headed until his retirement in 1995.

The focus of Hoke's multifaceted work - which also included lithographs, tapestry paintings and architectural buildings - was, above all, on female nudes and landscapes. His travel destinations were Spain, Peru and Tuscany. In the last decade of Giselbert Hoke's life, his paintings were reduced to the essential. In his last cycle of works called Nada he dedicated himself entirely to the great nothingness, the great emptiness. Numerous monographs on Hoke have been published. He was married twice, had five children and died in Klagenfurt in 2015.