Gotthard Graubner (1913 - 2013)
Gotthard Graubner is born in 1930 in Erlbach/Germany. With his Kissenbildern (cushion pictures), created from the 1960s onwards, Gotthard Graubner is to be counted amongst the most important exponents of German post-war art. His studies at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste in Berlin (1947-1948) and the Dresdener Kunstakademie (1948-1952) are succeeded by important years studying at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf until 1959 after leaving East-Germany in 1954. Between 1955 and 1957, it is under this influence that he detaches himself from the language of geometric colour forms he had hitherto pursued, and places colour at the heart of his work. In addition, he expands his artistic activity from two-dimensionality to a spatial structure. After experimenting with various methods of paint application, initially with aquarelle, subsequently working on canvas, he extends the dimensions by spreading a thick layer of synthetic wadding over a stretch-frame. This wadding is encased by a canvas, which is ultimately painted on. Already in 1960, the Dusseldorf gallery owner Alfred Schmela exhibits the resulting Kissenbilder or ‘cushion pictures’ for the first time. Ten years later, Graubner himself entitles his large-scale cushion pictures Farbraumkörper, ‘colour-space bodies’. Graubner, who, parallel to his activity as an artist, is engaged as an art mediator, inter alia at the Hamburger Hochschule für Bildende Künste and the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, participates for the first time at the Documenta IV in 1968. In 1971 he untertakes a journey to Colombia, Peru, Mexico, India and Nepal. The same year witnesses the commencement of work on the so-called Nebelräume, ‘nebulous’ or ‘hazy spaces’, which continues until 1972. In 1973 he becomes a member of the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Berlin. Between 1976 and 1992 Graubner holds a professorship at the Akademie der Künste, Dusseldorf.
In 1987 he receives the August-Macke-Price from the city of Meschede and in 1988 the Art price from North Germany. Since 1996 he is a Member of the Saxon Academy of arts, Dusseldorf. Gotthatrd Graubner dies in 2013 in Neuss, Germany. Crucial for the impact of his works, is the varied intensity in the painting style and the hereby emerging landscapes of colour. His Œuvre encompasses multi-coloured works, which are contrasted with monochrome paintings in finest nuances of colour. At the centre of Graubner’s painting lies the development of the autonomy of colour and thus it’s emancipation from the aspiration to stand for something, to be a representation of something other than itself. An unforgettable showing took place 1980 at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden. Two years later he exhibits a five-part ‘colour-space body’ ensemble in the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - another seminal display.
1960 Galerie Schmela, Dusseldorf 1968 Documenta IV, Kassel 1971 Biennale in Sao Paolo 1975 Gotthard Graubner, Hamburger Kunsthalle 1980 Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden 1982 Biennale in Venice 5th Triennale-India, New-Delhi 1987 Gotthard Graubner. Zeichnungen, Aquarelle 1946 – 1986, Kunsthaus Zurich 1998 Gotthard Graubner. Malerei, Staatliches Museum Schwerin 2001 Gotthard Graubner. Malerei auf Papier, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe 2005 Gotthard Graubner, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai 2008 Group show ZERO lebt – europäische Avantgarde der 50er und 60er Jahre, Kunsthalle Weishaupt, Ulm 2009 Gotthard Graubner. Chapeau mon ami, Galerie M, Bochum 2010 Gotthard Graubner. Malerei, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein 2011 Gotthard Graubner. Malerei – Gespräch mit Josef Albers, Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop Group show Body and Soul. Lawrence Carroll – Gotthard Graubner - Sean Scully, Hôtel des Arts, Toulon 2013 Hommage à Gotthard Graubner, Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf 2018 Gotthard Graubner. Mit den Bildern atmen. Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen