Friedrich Schröeder-Sonnenstern

Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern (1892 Kaukehmen - 1982 Berlin), draughtsman and painter, was regarded abroad in the late 1950s and early 1960s - especially in France - as the most important German painter of the post-war period. Today, the Berlin painter is known almost only in specialist circles.

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, alternative practitioner and others. He spent various years in insane asylums and prisons. In 1942 he managed to escape from a labour camp to Berlin. Here he survived the Second World War.   He made his first drawings in 1933/34 in an insane asylum. He was over 50 when his painting career began in earnest in 1949.

His pictures 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 eroticised demons and moon spirits are meant to be culturally and socially critical, naïve in their approaches, their effect not yet even foreseeable, a revolt against "one-dimensional man". (Gallery Brockstedt)

His rise as an internationally celebrated painter 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 among collectors internationally in the early 1960s.

Since Schröder-Sonnenstern could no longer cope with this boom alone, he began to employ assistants in his workshop. When some of them produced forgeries in Schröder-Sonnenstern's style on pre-signed cardboard boxes and this became known, art critics and the market dropped Sonnenstern. At his death in 1982, the "cult star" of yore was impoverished and hardly known any more.

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

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