RUDOLF ANTON BERNATSCHKE
OIL ON PANEL, SIGNED
AUSTRIAN AMERICA, DATED 1944
28 X 21.5 INCHES
The following, submitted December 2005, is from the artist.
"Fantasie, fin-de-siecle fauve" is the phrase most used to describe the Austrian-American painter, Count Rudolf Anton Bernatschke's paintings. His work has been praised by art critics as "moving away from the academic tradition toward a highly personal style----simple and strong in character with a touch of unorthodox color". Bernatschke is a painter of portraits of nobility, high society, political and military figures and also of landscapes, nudes and flowers.
Bernatschke, born in Salzburg, Austria, was surrounded from birth by the elegant architecture, artistic and musical sensibilities of his native city which have always influenced his work. At a very early age his parents took him to Vienna to enhance his appreciation of the arts and upon seeing the Hapsburg Summer Palace, Schonbrunn, in all it's magnificent splendor, he immediately requested that he be allowed to return the next day to paint a landscape, something considered remarkable for a ten year old.
Recognizing his talent, his parents enrolled him at the Kunstler Haus in Salzburg. There he began to study the academicABC's of painting by copying Old Masters such as Albrecht Durer etc. As his talent developed he went, as a young man, to Paris to study at the L'Ecole des Beaux Arts. His stay there awakened him to the glory of the French Impressionists. He came to the United States in 1939 and became an American citizen. In New York he studied with Dimitri Romanovsky, a pupil of William Chase and Robert Henri. Bernatschke occupied the studio of Robert Henri in the Lincoln Arcade Building which stood where Lincoln Center is now. In that studio he painted the only two existing portraits of the world famous Austrian violinist, Fritz Kreisler. These now hang permanently, in a place of honor, in the Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna, Austria, where Kreisler graduated as a Wunderkind at the age of ten.
Bernatschke served in the American Army in World War II where he received his basic training in the Combat Engineers at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. He was later transferred to The Recruiting Publicity Bureau of the U. S. Army on Governor's Island, New York. He painted many recruiting posters, which were seen on billboards nationwide. It was always a great thrill for Bernatschke, while out driving, to come across one of these billboards. An especially notable painting is his "Army Nurses Needed Now", which hangs in the Surgeon General's Office in Washington, DC. The film actress, Barbara Britten, was the model for this.
His many military portraits include General Douglas MacArthur, which hangs in the Women's National Republican Club in New York. Mrs. MacArthur was most pleased to see this likeness of her husband when it was unveiled at The Seventh Regiment Armory in New York City. Bernatschke's painting of Admiral William Raborn, Director of the CIA, hangs in the CIA Building in Langley, Virginia where it was painted. In the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, hang two of Bernatschkes' paintings: General Mike Rogers, much decorated fighter pilot of the Second World War, and Major Glenn Miller, the world famous band leader of World War II, who was declared missing in action. (Major Miller was the uncle of Bernatschke's second wife, the singer-actress Wynne Miller).
His paintings of politicians include Senator Robert Taft, which hangs in the Senate Office Building in Washington; Senator Joe McCarthy; Ambassador Spruille Braden, which hangs in the Metropolitan Club in New York; and Governor and Mrs. George Wallace of Alabama.
He has painted everyone from Gypsy Rose Lee to Cardinal Spellman. Other celebrities include Tom Wolfe; Ernest and Jack Hemingway; Gary Cooper; Chevy Chase; Desmond Guinness; Mary Roebling; Sonja Heine; Wynne Miller; The Emir of Kuwait; The Grand Master of the Masons, Stewart McCloud; Ned Rorem; Cathalene Parker Bernatschke.
In his native country, Austria, his many clients include The Prince Archbishop of Salzburg; Princess Agathe Schoenburg-Hartenstein of Vienna; Princess Antonia Colloredo-Mansfeld; Ralph Benatzky, the Austrian composer.
Count Bernatschke has exhibited at Portraits, Inc. in New York City and at the Palais Harrach, in Vienna, Austria, in the "1000 Years of Music in Austria" exhibit, October 1997 to April 1998.
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