Otto Freundlich

(deutsch, 1878 - 1943)

composition by otto freundlich

Otto Freundlich

Composition, 1933

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Biografie

Chronologie

1908
Studied in Berlin, travelled to Paris; joined the Avant-garde artist circles of Montmartre
1919
Organised the first Dada exhibition, Cologne
1925
Settled in Paris
Otto Freundlich started life as a shop-apprentice, and later studied art history in Munich and Florence. He began painting and sculpting at the age of 27, and from 1908 specialised in constructive painting, using swathes of pure colour. He came to Paris 1909, and took a studio at the ‘Bateau Lavoir’ in the Place Ravignan, where he became friendly with Picasso. He exhibited with the Cubists in Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne. Freundlich composed his first entirely abstract paintings in 1919, and also executed mosaics and stained glass windows. He became a member of the ‘Cercle et Carré ‘ group in 1930, and then of ‘Abstraction-Création’. Hitler classed him among the ‘Degenerate Artists’ and as a Jew he was deported to the concentration camp of Lublin-Maidenech (Poland) where he died in 1943. A Retrospective exhibition was held at the Galerie Rive Droite, Paris in 1954.

“The artist is a barometer of transformations. He senses them in his acts and his thoughts before they are realised in the world. When he detaches himself from the generally admitted forms and truths, he is executing the edicts of a new reality. All artistic realisations have an inclination: a narrow inclination when it is the safeguard of the artist, a large one when the artist renounces himself and his work opens mental frontiers. A forcing of barriers – social, political, spiritual – begins every historical period. Ours will for the first time accomplish the union of man with the whole earth and will thus change nostalgia and desire for far-away things into something else, certainly much greater, although everywhere within our reach.”

(Otto Freundlich in Cercle et Carré, No. 2)

Ausstellungen

1938
April 20: group show at the Berthe Weill Gallery.
May 1: exhibition at London Gallery, Lmtd
May 19-June 8: exhibition at the Ren, Breteau Art Gallery, Paris: Art Décoratif 39.
First Salon of New Realities at the Charpentier Gallery
1937
January 16-February 14: Participates in the exhibition of Constructivists, Basel
March: Participates in the exhibition of Musicalists
1931
First show at Galerie de la Renaissance, June 11-30, Paris
Exhibition of the November Group, July 3 – August 3, Berlin
One-man show at Andreas Becker-Neumann Gallery, Cologne
1930
June: Second Exhibition of the Superindependents, Paris

Literatur

Catalogue of the Retrospective Exhibition and Catalogue Raisonné “Otto Freundlich (1878-1943)
Monographie mit Dokumentation und Werkverzeichnis“, Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Bonn 1978/79
Nadine NIESZAWER ”Peintres juifs de l’Ecole de Paris 1905-1939” Editions Denoël Paris 2000