Der grosse Bau, 1934
© 2003 by ProLitteris, CH 8033 Zürich
FRITZ WINTER – from Klee to Kirchner, works from 1928 to 1934
From 17th May to 23rd August 2003 (prolonged until 18th October), the Henze & Ketterer Gallery, Berne/Wichtrach, will be showing the early works of Fritz Winter, that great abstract painter whose works were shown regularly at the Marbach Gallery from 1950 onwards. The works in the forthcoming exhibition, which date from the beginning of the 1930s, not only exemplify Fritz Winter's artistic development between the two extremes of Klee and Kirchner but also testify to the great contribution which he made to Abstraction-Création.
As the son of a coalminer, Fritz Winter (Altenbögge 1905-1976 Herrsching) broke with the family tradition, began painting in 1924 and joined that international vagabondage which was gaining such enormous cultural significance during the 1920s. From 1927 until 1930 he studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau – mainly under Paul Klee – and then, between the years of 1927 and 1932, frequently worked with Kirchner in Davos. Shortly after taking up a teaching post in Halle, Fritz Winter escaped in that fateful year of 1933 into "inner emigration", from then on living and working in Diessen am Ammersee until the beginning of the war. Although he had been officially forbidden to paint in 1937, he continued to work clandestinely, painting "for the storeroom", as he once put it, and hiding his paintings in the attic, even bricking them up in the walls. After 6 years' military service and 4 years' captivity as a prisoner of war, he retrieved his hidden works, mounted them on canvas, and began to show them to the public, also picking up from where he had left off before the war and continuing to develop his abstract style. There then followed a great many awards and distinctions: the Biennale in Venice in 1950, teaching posts and a professorship, countless exhibitions, and many years' collaboration with the Marbach Gallery in Berne and Paris.
Fritz Winter's early works synthesized completely opposing artistic approaches: the spiritual tendencies of Bauhaus abstraction at the one extreme, represented by Kandinsky, Klee and Gabo, and, at the other, the extremely physical and powerful pictorial language of Braque, Picasso and, above all, Kirchner. Fritz Winter's early works not only counted among the most dynamic expressions of the "Abstraction-Création" movement of the 1930s but also made a significant contribution to the "globalization" of abstract painting after 1950. The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue.
Running parallel to the Fritz Winter exhibition will be a small studio exhibition of a selection of those works painted by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner during Fritz Winter's periods of stay in Davos-Frauenkirch around 1930.
No opening will be taking place due to building work (new gallery showroom/storeroom). Duration of exhibition: 17th May until 23rd August 2003 (prolonged until 18th October).