Welti’s Walpurgisnacht, 1897

Albert Welti‘s “Walpurgisnacht” (1896-97) was the subject of an exhibition in 1984. The catalogue, Albert Welti im Kunsthaus Zürich, lists 50 works relating to the artist: none are in English, and I have not found anything on Welti published in English in the last two decades. Consequently, the following images will have to tell their own story. From these pictures you can see that a number of changes were made to the composition of “Walpurgisnacht” before the final version was completed in 1897.

The first version of “Walpurgisnacht” featured a naked young witch straddling a sharply-peaked roof, using her broom to discourage a man from peeking out of a window at her and her sister witches. In the second study below there is a witch emerging from a nearby chimney forwards; in the third study, the witch emerges backwards.

In the second version of “Walpurgisnacht” the witch who attacks our peeping-Tom is now in flight, facing away from the viewer. The artist clearly decided that it would be indecorous to have this witch naked, given her pose, but a number of early sketches show her naked (and background figures are in even more “lewd” poses). The witch emerging from the chimney is now being helped out by a third central figure who is completely up-side down (this character appears at the head of this post, the right way up). The first image below appears to be the final study; it is followed by the painting itself.

3 Responses to “Welti’s Walpurgisnacht, 1897”

  1. Wow–that’s some very cool stuff!!!

  2. I love to look at sketches for finished art work, it’s so cool to see how it developed from concept to finish.

  3. McCabe Says:

    Does anyone know who owns/has the rights to this painting?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 325 other followers

%d bloggers like this: