Alicia Coppola

De Es Schwertberger

De Es Schwertberger


De Es Schwertberger (b. 1942 Gresten, Austria)


De Es Schwertberger, an Austrian painter and sculptor whose atelier is in Vienna, is considered one of the most innovative and central figures of The Vienna School of Fantastic Realism, which emerged in Austria after World War II. His highly individual style is a synthesis of realistic, fantastic and abstract motives.  Color and light permeate his work, creating a precise effect of limitless space.

Known mostly for his early works in Fantastic Realism in the 1960s and 70s, De Es’ oeuvre surprises with stylistic transformations. It reveals an encompassing and deliberate passage from the figurative to the abstract in the form of three-dimensional patterns and color play.  His early series of Stonemen lay the foundation for later investigations into the dialogue within structure and nature and the geometry of space and light.

His gestural and lyrical lines create an emotive pace that lingers on the canvas. Integral in essence, these paintings naturally relate to diverse expressions of contemporary art.  Substantiating the image with realistic and logical abstractions, De Es is redeeming and enhancing the 3D illusionistic space-feel and declining abstract modernism, in what has been called “a new precision of space” by Ernst Fuchs.

Feeding on tension, he works in opposition of order and chaos, straight and curve, light and dark, horizontal and vertical, and abstraction and figuration. A circular connection is offered; the embedded figure creates a presence either as a body or as a state of being -matter or light - placing the viewer simultaneously in two perspectives, both inside and outside the painting.  As tension cannot be without opposing forces - subject and object - the viewer becomes a participating member, with their own perceptions. 

Entrenched in over 5 decades of art climates that minimize expression, he never veered far from his magnum opus, the Light Of Life series of 100, 2 x 2 meter paintings, completed from 1980-1990. This grand series of works, his gesamtkunstwerk, are to be permanently exhibited in a building designed by the artist, called the Dome Of Peace.  Light of Life offers a panorama of visions of the cosmic dimension of the human being, the human self-image and positions on our journey from darkness to light.

The epitome of a painters-painter, De Es continues to explore the inner cosmos of the collective human dream. “I am integrating vision,” he says about the essence of his work.