Robert Rotar (1926 - 1999)

The artist Robert Rotar, called „the magician of the spiral “, holds a special position within the German avant-garde arts scene of the second half of the 20th century. His work is difficult to assign to a group of artists or a style. Rotar’s central motif is the spiral, which kept him occupied continuously over 45 years of his creative and working life. It represented to him the symbol of „infinity“. 
His approach can be called deductive from a philosophical point of view. He sought intensive exchanges with neuroscientists and geneticists, astrophysicists and nuclear physicists and molecular biologists in order to obtain new knowledge on his subject. At the same time he did in-depth studies of philosophical and religious writings. In 1963 he constructed a painting machine that put to paper his artistic ideas of space and time spirals by means of a rotation system. Amongst Rotar’s artist friends were 
James Lee Byars and Joseph Beuys, whose actions he documented as a photographer. 
Rotar’s comprehensive written estate is kept at the art archives of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.



1926 Born in Berlin


1950 - 1953 Staatliche Kunstschule in Bremen and Kölner Werkkunstschule.


Studies of painting, furniture and interior decoration


1953 Manager of the furniture design company Knoll International in Stuttgart


Begins to draw and paint spirals 


1957 - 1973 Head of the first branch of Knoll International in Düsseldorf


1957 Member of the Deutscher Werkbund


ab 1957 Intensive exchange with astrophysicists and nuclear  physicists, molecular biologists, neurologists  and genetics researchers on the subject of the spiral


1963 Constructs a painting machine for the artistic  realization of his space-time spirals 


1967 Patenting of painting machine


from 1973 Concentrates on artistic activities with the  focus on painting and photography, seals  and stamps his works 


from 1981 Studio at Villa Engelhardt, Düsseldorf


1999 Died in Düsseldorf

1963 First own exhibitions, photo documentation of Beuys actions  


1973 Individual exhibition at the Kaiser- Wilhelm-Museum, Krefeld 


1995 Exhibition at the Foundation Museum  Schloss Moyland "Joseph Beuys in der Photographie" 


2009/2010 Retrospective at the Foundation Museum  Schloss Moyland and the Sammlung Kunst  in NRW, Aachen-Kornelimünster 


2013 "ROTAR - drawings", Galerie  Dierking at the Art Cologne