Max Weiler in front of "Like a landscape, wet, moss and grasses", 1964
(Photo: Otto Breicha)

Weiler now started doing paintings that he described as being "Like a Landscape", by which he meant that they resemble landscapes and behave as if they belong to that genre even if they do not. A glance at this group of paintings explains why Weiler used such a comparison. The certainty of landscape's perspective, in which he had still placed his trust in the years immediately following 1945, has dissolved. It is difficult, if not impossible, to recognise individual objects and figures. An individual form can be described as resembling a mountain, a cloud or so on – but it is impossible to say that it actually is one or the other. These paintings are in fact accumulations of coloured shapes with diverse characteristics that can be read as allusions to something resembling nature.


Weiler himself repeatedly emphasised what a stimulating and important influence the paintings of the Chinese Sung dynasty from the 10th to the 13th centuries AD had exerted on him. He was first introduced to them by his teacher Karl Sterrer at the beginning of the 1930s and he familiarised himself with their special qualities through observation and reading. That process now bears fruit in his work: discarding perspective, he paints fluid landscape elements in a bright pictorial ground. He manages foreground and distance with consummate skill, creating a bird's eye view that shows nature as a broad, boundless panorama. Above all, he conveys a sense of how human beings are intimately bound up with nature. Weiler does not place viewers at a distance; he involves them in nature's own process. The paintings he did in the late 1950s – those he exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1960 – had a brittle, dry, friable structure, but now his works seem to have been painted with water.

In a European context, this reinterpretation of nature as a fluid world represents a tremendous change of orientation. Since Monet's water lily paintings from the years 1900–1926, a large number of painters have contributed to this reinterpretation, including Weiler in his own very special way. He is, in particular, responsible for the insight that to turn away from nature as an accumulation of objects is to turn towards it as a whole that is bursting with energy. Within that equilibrium, everything can then be regarded as "like landscape". Nature is still in its youth; creation does not lie in the past but is in the process of unfolding.

While all things ..., variation (painting), 1962
Egg tempera on canvas
196 x 95,5 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
Like a landscape, close by: with smoke, 1962
Egg tempera on canvas
195 x 96 cm
Like a landscape, close by: forest, 1962
Egg tempera on canvas
196,5 x 95,5 cm
Like a landscape, close by, 1962
Egg tempera on canvas
196 x 95,5 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
Like a landscape, large mountain range, 1963/64
Egg tempera on canvas
205 x 195 cm
Like a landscape, rust-red mountain, 1963
Egg tempera on canvas
96 x 195 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
Like a landscape, primal rocks, two pillars, 1963
Egg tempera on canvas
108 x 196 cm
Like a landscape, high moors, foggy, swampy, wet, grasses, herbs, moss, 1964
Egg tempera on canvas
96 x 196 cm
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
Like a landscape, wet, moss and grass, 1965
Egg tempera on canvas
196,5 x 96 cm
Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste, Wien
Like a landscape, the mountains' end, 1965
Egg tempera on canvas
90 x 130 cm
Belvedere Wien
Like a landscape, with a broad peak, 1965
Egg tempera on canvas
115 x 240 cm
Sammlung Wolfgang Bittermann
Like a landscape, the grey mountains, 1965
Egg tempera on canvas
96 x 196 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
Forest thicket, 1965
Egg tempera on canvas
130 x 115 cm
Oesterreichische Nationalbank
Like a landscape with three coloured figures (materialization), 1966
Egg tempera on canvas
95 x 195 cm