Max Weiler with a painting from the series "While All Things", 1961

"For while all things were in quiet silence, and that night was in the midst of her swift course, Thine Almighty word leaped down from heaven out of thy royal throne."


Meister Eckhart, who translated that sentence from the Book of Wisdom (18, 14.15), was alluding to the incarnation, as represented in the story of Christmas. The sequence of paintings Weiler dedicated to that sentence belongs in the same context. He had already started exploring the theme in his "Christmas Painting" of 1934 and in his painting "Being (Painting - red shape above. For while all things were in quiet silence)" of 1960.

The monumental "Christmas Painting" (350 x 200 cm) Weiler painted on three mounted plywood panels in 1934 shows a seated male figure, facing towards us, who holds a woman and child on his lap. The creator, with creation in his arms, decides to utter his almighty word when "night is in the midst of her swift course". The group of figures suggests that creation is being carried with care, that redemption will be extended not just to human beings but also to the whole of nature, to the cosmos. The sentence from Solomon's "Book of Wisdom" on which Weiler based the sequence of paintings he produced in 1960/61 first appears on the back of the "Christmas Painting" he did in 1933.


After his experience at the Venice Biennale in 1960, Weiler returned to this spiritual centre of his work and, in little more than a year, produced a sequence of 29 paintings, which he linked together by using each word from the German translation of Solomon's sentence as the title of one of them, with "Things" being represented twice.

It is immediately apparent that Weiler did not seek to illustrate Solomon's sentence but instead wanted to use the means at painting's disposal to evoke the nameless secret that surpasses our imagination. He created a sequence of meditational paintings that enable us to construct the ineffable from within ourselves. Weiler compared his sequence of paintings with a forest created through art, describing them as "the firs, spruces, pines, yews and the silent forest, in which humans are completely alone" (1972). When the paintings were first exhibited in the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce in Innsbruck at the end of 1961, they were suspended freely in the room, creating a kind of avenue for meditation. "Then I thought of a winding passageway", noted Weiler "wider at some points and narrower at others, a place for meditation, made of bare concrete with asphalt on the ground, and with openings overhead to let in the light. It was for that passageway that I created my paintings. Walking along it, visitors would, if they raised their eyes, repeatedly look for the downward or upwardly supporting flow, in all colour combinations."

In the same year Weiler received the Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis, Austria's most prestigious art prize. His work had now obtained the national and, to some extent, international recognition of which it had long been deprived. In 1964 he was invited to teach at the Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Vienna and finally changed his official place of residence.

While, 1960
Egg tempera on canvas
230,5 x 115 cm
All, 1960
Egg tempera on canvas
195 x 205 cm
Things II, 1960
Egg tempera on canvas
205 x 195 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
Silence, 1960
Egg tempera on canvas
230,5 x 115 cm
Night, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
115 x 230 cm
Belvedere Wien
Course, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
205 x 195 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
Leaped, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
155 x 115 cm
Heaven, 1960
Egg tempera on canvas
205 x 195 cm
Throne, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
230,5 x 115 cm
Oh, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
230,5 x 115 cm
Lord, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
230,5 x 115 cm
Almighty, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
155 x 115 cm
Word, 1961
Egg tempera on canvas
155 x 115 cm