Peiffer Watenphul began teaching at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) in Salzburg on September 1, 1943. He had many students, and he became the spiritual figure-head for a circle of young artists, including Agnes Muthspiel, Herbert Breiter, Rudolf Hradil, and Poldi Schöghofer. He was on friendly terms with Eduard Bäumer, with whom he collaborated on projects, took excursions into the countryside, and in whose studio he did nude drawing.

On the Mönchsberg,
photograph: Ilse Luke

While in Salzburg from 1943 until 1946, Peiffer Watenphul created numerous paintings and watercolors of the city and its surroundings. In Salzburg, he painted like a madman, as though making up for the lost time of the three years in Krefeld during which he could not paint.

Yet, in spite of Peiffer Watenphul’s popularity and his achievements as an artist, things became difficult for him as a German artist in Austria. He was refused a residence permit. Under these circumstances, he suffered emotionally to such an extent that he resolved to leave Austria and go to Venice, where his sister Grace lived. With no papers, on an icy autumn night in 1946, he followed a guide over the mountains to South Tyrol and from there to Venice, where he lived for the next twelve years.