Alfred Klinkan was born at Judenburg, Austria, in 1950 and studied between 1970 and 1974 at the Vienna Art Academy under Josef Mikl and Wolfgang Hollegha. After finishing his studies, Alfred Klinkau was awarded the Prize for Contemporary Painting by the province of Styria as well as a study grant to the Antwerp Art Academy.
In addition to numerous one-man shows at Vienna, Graz and Judenburg, Klinkan made a name for himself abroad, exhibiting his overpaintings of Albrecht Dürer wood engravings to international acclaim. In his prints and paintings, Alfred Klinkan developed a distinctively personal figurative style. Klinkan's canvases teem with animals, human beings, hybrid mythic beings co-existing peacefully and informed by the Baroque metamorphosis idea. His mythic pictures are notable for a subtile palette, often in contrasting complementary colours, one of the salient features of Klinkan's work.
In Alfred Klinkan's last phase a thematic and formal change showed up in the 1990s. In his last cycle of works, "Bilder aller Arten" ["Pictures of all Kinds/Species2], Klinkan reduced his pictorial devices, coarsened his handling and turned to a darker, smouldering palette, eschewing the cheerful colours he formerly preferred.
Alfred Klinkan, who was a leading exponent of New Austrian Painting in the 1970s and 1980s, died in Vienna in 1994. That same year the Rupertinum in Salzburg devoted a solo show to Alfred Klinkan's work.