The Austrian artist was a member of the ‘Nötscher Kreis’ that had formed in Nötsch (Carinthia, Austria) at the beginning of the 20th century. Anton Kolig was a Late Expressionist painter, in particular, of nudes. He first exhibited his works in 1911 together with Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele as one of the Hagenbund group of artists. He received a grant to study in Paris that same year thanks to recommendations from Gustav Klimt and Carl Moll. When World War I broke out, he had to flee as quickly as possible and left several of his works behind. Their whereabouts remains unknown to this day.
After returning to Austria, he received several commissions for monumental works. In 1917 he was commissioned to paint a winged alterpiece by the Carinthian rifle division as a present for Emperor Karl I; in 1926/27 he designed a mosaic for the Festival Hall in Salzburg.
In 1928 Kolig accepted a professorship at the Württembergische Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart and was commissioned to paint frescos in the state parliament assembly chamber in Klagenfurt, Austria. He worked on this together with his students from Stuttgart. After the Annexation of Austria in 1938 the frescos were completely destroyed by the Nazis, as were his mosaics in Salzburg.
In 1943 he returned to Nötsch. He was buried alive in his studio – but survived –after an air raid in 1944 which destroyed a large part of his œuvre.
Nothing is known of the relationship between the gallery owner Alfred Flechtheim and Anton Kolig. Flechtheim never exhibited the artist’s work but did sell one of his paintings entitled Blauer Jüngling to the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart in 1932. This work had been exhibited in 1925 in the Galerie Würthle & Sohn in Vienna, with which Flechtheim worked closely between 1923 and 1932.