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Otto Freundlich    (German, 1878-1943)

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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)

1938 April 20: group show at the Berthe Weill Gallery.
1938 May 1: exhibition at London Gallery, Lmtd
1938 May 19-June 8: exhibition at the Ren, Breteau Art Gallery, Paris: Art Décoratif 39.
1938 First Salon of New Realities at the Charpentier Gallery
1937 January 16-February 14: Participates in the exhibition of Constructivists, Basel
1937 March: Participates in the exhibition of Musicalists
1931 First show at Galerie de la Renaissance, June 11-30, Paris
1931 Exhibition of the November Group, July 3 – August 3, Berlin
1931 One-man show at Andreas Becker-Neumann Gallery, Cologne
1930 June: Second Exhibition of the Superindependents, Paris
1930 November 15: Exhibit at the Kunstsalon, Zurich
1929 Exhibitions at museums in Amsterdam and The Hague.
1928 Shows at the Salon of Independent Artists
1910 - 1913 Participation in various shows in Paris (Galerie Sagot), Berlin (New Secession), and in Herwarth Walden's Autumn Salon, then Düsseldorf (Sonderbund), and Amsterdam (Kunst-Kring)

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
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