Norbert Kricke (1922 - 1984)

Born on the 30th of November 1922 in Dusseldorf, Norbert Kricke may be counted among the most important sculptors of German post-war art. He came to be regarded as an artistic pioneer in Europe due to his minimalist, greatly reduced work.

While producing predominantly figurative works in the beginning of his working period, he gradually began to condense the volume of these figurative sculptures from 1950 onwards in favour of "free spatial movements".

Building upon the basis of the inner wire frameworks of his clay sculptures, he embarked on first attempts at creating non-figurative spatial compositions.

Linear and highly minimal structures of rectangular wires became the increasing focus in his creative process. In his entire artistic work, he devoted himself to the phenomenon of space and the representation of motion. The linear penetration of space by means of rectangular and acute angles is remained central to his work throughout.

His sculptural oeuvre includes both free-swinging curve lines, as well as surface paths and radically reduced spatial sculptures. Among the representative works exhibited in the public sphere is the „Große Mannesmann“, which was erected on the banks of the Rhine in Düsseldorf in 1961. His drawings must also be considered as an independent part of his oeuvre. In contrast to conventional sculptural drawing, Kricke focuses on the sculptures themselves and implements their independence in a two-dimensional medium. During his period as the Rector of the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf from 1972 to 1981, Norbert Kricke was partly responsible for the recruitment of important professors such as Gotthard Graubner, Nam June Paik, Günther Uecker, and others.



Kricke's works are kept in numerous well-known European and American collections, both public and private.

1922 Born in Dusseldorf

1935 Moves to Berlin

1941 - 1942 First experiences with sculpture

1946 - 1947 Studies at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin under Richard Scheibe

1947 Moves to Dusseldorf, works as a freelance sculptor, marries Hertha Schottky

1949 First 'Raumplastiken'


1953 First solo-show at the Galerie Ophir in Munich

1954 Stay in England and Scottland as a guest of the British Council


Meets Carola Giedion-Welcker and Sigfried Giedion in Zurich


1955 Developes the ‘Wasserformen’

1956 Exposés ‘Forms of Water’ in collaboration with John Anthony Thwaites

First 'Flächenbahnen' 

1958 Prize of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts, Chicago

1959 Collaboration with Walter Gropius (new university building in Bagdad)


Travels to Mexico


1963 Great artprize from the Land North Rhine-Westfalia for sculpture

1964 Professor of sculpture at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf


1971 Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Prize from the city of Duisburg

1972 Stay in Egypt


1972 - 1981 Principal of the Staatlichen Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf


1984 Dies in Dusseldorf

1947 Ausstellung des Bundes für Kulturschaffende, Düsseldorfer Kunstausstellung, Dusseldorf

1953 Norbert Kricke, Galerie Ophir, Munich

1954 Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal

1955 Norbert Kricke, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Dusseldorf / Städtische Galerie, Istanbul


1957 Galerie Iris Clert, Paris

          Norbert Kricke, Raumplastiken – Zeichnungen, Kunstverein Freiburg i. Br.


1959 documenta II, Kassel


1960 Kricke Norbert, Luginbühl  Bernhard, Tinguely Jean, Kunsthalle Bern, Berne


1961 Norbert Kricke, Museum of Modern Art, New York

          Galerie John Lefebre, New York


          Norbert Kricke, Galerie Karl Flinker, Paris


1962 Haus Lange, Krefeld


          Weltausstellung, Seattle


1964 XXXII Biennial in Venice


          documenta III, Kassel


1967 Weltausstellung, Montreal


1973 Kunst in Deutschland 1898 – 1973, Hamburger Kunsthalle


1975 Norbert Kricke, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum der Stadt Duisburg / Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf


1980 Norbert Kricke, Raumplastiken und Zeichnungen, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut, Städelgarten, Frankfurt a. M.

          Norbert Kricke, Museum Quadrat, Bottrop


1982 Hommage à Barnett Newman, Neue Nationalgalerie,  Staatliche Museen in Berlin


1984 edith wahlandt galerie, Stuttgart


1995 Norbert Kricke – Zeichnungen, Kunstmuseum Bonn / Kunstverein, Braunschweig


1996 Norbert Kricke, 1922-1984, Zeichnungen und Raumplastiken, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart


1998 Stunde Null, deutsche Kunst der späten vierziger Jahre, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart


2003 Minimalism and After, Daimler-Chrysler Collection, ZKM Karlsruhe / Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit


2006 Norbert Kricke, Plastiken und Zeichnungen – Eine Retrospektive, museum kunst palast, Dusseldorf / Neues Museum Nürnberg


2010 Minimalism Germany 1960, Daimler Contemporary Berlin


2012 Norbert Kricke – Space / Line, Museum Liner, Appenzell 


2013 - 2014 Norbert Kricke und Emil Schumacher - Positionen in Plastik und Malerei nach 1945, Emil Schumacher Museum Hagen


2015 Norbert Kricke und Emil Schuhmacher – Über Materie in die Unendlichkeit, Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern 

2016 Norbert Kricke - Movement and Space. Pioneer of Post-War Art, Dierking - Galerie am Paradeplatz, Zurich/Cologne


          Art after 1945 - 1968, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe