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Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern (1892 Kaukehmen - 1982 Berlin), graphic artist, was regarded abroad in the late 1950s and early 1960s - especially in Switzerland and France - as the most important German artist of the postwar period. Today, Schröder-Sonnenstern is widely recognized and appreciated as an artist. At the Venice Biennale 2013 he was internationally presented as an important representative of Outsider Art. His original works are complex colored pencil drawings on paper, created in a massive push in just 10 years, between 1949 to 1958. Then the artist was already over 50 years old.
Schröder-Sonnenstern belonged to the group of artists known as the Berlin Painter-Poets from the early 1970s.
His paintings show bizarre, partly erotic, partly nightmarish combinations of humans and animals. They can be read as a radical attack on our alienated and senseless way of life, determined by artificial needs and compulsive consumption. "All his eroticized demons and moon spirits are meant to be culturally and socially critical, naive in their beginnings, not yet even foreseeable in their effect, a revolt against "one-dimensional man." (Brockstedt Gallery)
Born in East Prussia, Schröder-Sonnenstern made his way through the first decades of his life as a milker, clown and tramp, founder of a cult, healer, and others. He spent various years in insane asylums and prisons. In 1942 he managed to escape from a labor camp to Berlin. Here he survived the 2nd World War. He made his first drawings in 1933/34 in an insane asylum. He was over 50 years old when his painting career began in earnest in 1949.
His rise as an internationally celebrated artist was meteoric when the Surrealists presented him in an exhibition in Paris in 1959. Dubuffet, Max Ernst, George Pompidou and Picasso were among Sonnenstern's first buyers, triggering a boom in demand from collectors internationally in the early 1960s.
Since Schröder-Sonnenstern could no longer handle this boom alone, he began to employ temporary workers in his workshop. When some of them mass-produced forgeries in Schröder-Sonnenstern's style on pre-signed cartons, and this became known, art critics and the market dropped Sonnenstern. At his death in 1982, the "cult star" of yore was financially impoverished but appreciated by the relevant art trade.
2021 Berliner Malerpoeten - kuratiert von Browse Gallery als Teil der Ausstellung Die Erfindung Kreuzbergs - Zeit der
Bohème in den 1960er und 1970er Jahren, Studio 1, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin
2019 Oxymora. Berliner Malerpoeten und litauische Textilkünstlerinnen, Browse Gallery, Leipziger
2014 Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern. Werkstatt-Arbeiten, Browse Gallery, Berlin
2014 Berliner Malerpoeten. Pulsierendes Leben - pulsierender Tod, Browse Gallery, Berlin
2013 Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern, Galerie Brockstedt, Berlin
2013 ART Brut, Biennale, Venedig (Gruppenschau)
2008 35 Jahre, Galerie Hell, München
1973 Retrospektive, Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover, (solo)
1973 Retrospektive, Haus am Waldsee, Berlin (solo)
1971 Galerie Bühler, Stuttgart
1970 Galerie d’Halluin, Dusseldorf
1968 Phantastische Kunst in Deutschland, Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover
1967 Retrospektive, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany (solo)
1966 Galerie Hartmann, München
1964 Aoki Gallery, Tokio, Japan
1964 Galerie Sydow, Frankfurt
1963 Galerie Brockstedt, Hamburg
1960 Bar Jack Bilbo, Berlin
1959 Art Brut, Galerie Les Mages, Vence, Frankreich
1959 Exposition Internationale du Surrealisme, Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris
1952 Galerie Springer, Berlin