Bernard Schultze – A Centennial Exhibition
Mu­se­um Lud­wig
Hein­rich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln, Ger­many

Ber­nard Schultze (1915–2005) was a lead­ing ex­po­nent of ges­tu­ral ab­s­tract paint­ing in Eu­rope. In 1952 he found­ed the artists’ group Qua­dri­ga with Karl Ot­to Götz and others, ush­er­ing in Art In­formel in Ger­many. Ear­ly in his ca­reer he adopt­ed An­dré Bre­ton’s view that cre­a­tive pro­cess­es should be guid­ed by the un­con­s­cious. He went on to de­vel­op an in­tense­ly per­so­n­al vi­su­al vo­cab­u­lary that re­vealed an en­gage­ment with a wide range of art his­tor­i­cal pheno­m­e­na and estab­lished him as a dist­inc­tive pres­ence in paint­ing and draw­ing. 

An im­por­tant part in this was played by the Mi­gofs, mys­te­ri­ous­ly pro­lif­er­at­ing col­ored forms re­sem­bling liv­ing crea­tures that some­times pop­u­late his ex­pres­sive, yet dee­p­ly as­so­cia­tive im­ages. In his lat­er years, right up to his death, in April 2005, he con­sis­tent­ly re­cord­ed chain re­ac­tions in the paint­ing pro­cess to pro­duce unique­ly com­pelling works, of­ten on a monu­men­tal scale.

Schultze was born on 31 May 1915. The Mu­se­um Lud­wig, which hous­es a large part of his artis­tic es­tate, is pay­ing ho­mage to him on the cen­ten­nial of his birth with an ex­hi­bi­tion of works from its own col­lec­tion, dis­played in three gal­leries. Along with a num­ber of ear­ly draw­ings and paint­ings, the ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cus­es on the last two de­cades of the artist’s ca­reer. The oc­ca­sion is al­so marked by the publi­ca­tion by Hirmer Ver­lag of a ca­t­a­logue rai­son­né of his paint­ings and sculp­tures.

Schultze was based in Cologne from 1968 un­til his death, in 2005. For de­cades he and his artist wife, Ur­su­la, who died in 1999, were promi­nent fig­ures in the cul­tu­r­al life of the ci­ty. His un­mis­tak­able works, with their of­ten unu­su­al for­mal in­ven­tions, were and are rep­re­sent­ed in ex­hi­bi­tions and mu­se­um col­lec­tions in Ger­many and abroad.

The Mu­se­um Kun­st­palast in Düs­sel­dorf is show­ing Ber­nard Schultze (1915–2005): Works from the Kemp Col­lec­tion un­til Au­gust 30, 2015.

Image: © Museum Ludwig, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2015, Foto: Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Köln


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