National Gallery acquires major work by key Austrian artist Carl Moll

Carl Moll. At the Lunch Table (1901). Courtesy National Gallery of Canada.

The National Gallery of Canada has purchased a painting that was once thought lost to the art world.

The Gallery announced its acquisition of At the Lunch Table, a 1901 painting by the Austrian painter Carl Moll, on Thursday afternoon in a media release.

The painting is now on view in the European galleries. It the first painting by the artist in the  national collection and the first work by the artist in a public institution in Canada.

At the Lunch Table was exhibited in Vienna, Munich, Budapest and Berlin after it was finished in 1901. By the late 1930s, the painting was owned by Siegmund Isaias Zollschan of Vienna. The Zollschans were persecuted by the Nazis and Siegmund perished in the Holocaust.

His son Arthur escaped and eventually came to North America. At the Lunch Table was among several possessions that Sigmund had sent to a relative in Canada for safekeeping before the war. It has been cared for by the family ever since.

Moll was one of the founding members of the Vienna Secession, along with Gustav Klimt. The Secession, the gallery said, has come to represent the creativity of the Viennese avant-garde at the turn of the twentieth century. First shown in the 1oth Secession exhibition in 1901, the painting depicts the artist’s family, including his stepdaughter. Moll was well-regarded for his interior scenes that reveal Viennese society at the time.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.