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Otto Wols

"I do not see the difference in representing God with a circle or with a straight line."

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Notes of biography

Alfred Wolfgang Schulze, later takes the pseudonyme Otto Wols, was born in Berlin in 1913. In 1931, he studies photography from Genja Jonas in Dresde. In 1932, Otto Wols studies Ethnologhy in Frankfurt and signs up with the Bauhaus in Berlin where he meets Gropius, Mies Van de Rohe and Moholy-Nagy who advises him about Lger and Ozenfant.
He arrives in Paris in 1933 where he works as a photographer to earn his living. He joins the surrealists, becomes friends with Miro, Ernst, Tanguy, Brauner, Tzara and Calder. From these friendships are born small scale works of watercolor and Chinese inks. In 1935, he refuses to fulfill his German military service and spends 3 months in prison.
His first solo exhibition is organized in 1936, and he takes the pseudonym of Wols in 1937. The following year the artist decides to make the work of a lifetime, a total work of art, to mix art, science, philosophy and life; he is friends with Sartre, Jean Paulhan, Merleau-Ponty. During the war, because of his German immigrant status, he is places in a civil internment camp from September 1939 until Christmas 1940. He will leave crushed, somber with depression which he will never shake. Entirely consecrating his life to painting, he confides in the write Kay Boyle a hundred watercolors that she shows in the Untied States. An exhibition is organized in New York in 1941.
In 1942 he takes refuge in Dieulefit where despite the protection of Henri-Pierre Roche he is lost to alcohol. His painting becomes brutal, automatic, and existential. Otto Wols invents Tachism, during Europe of Action Painting American of Jackson Pollock. In 1946 he paints Forty moments of the Crucifixion of Man.
At the juncture of expressionism and surrealism, painter of imagination at times visionary and hallucinating, Otto Wols died in 1951 in Paris.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.

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Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • L'Art informel, Jean Paulhan, Ed. Gallimard, 1962
  • En personne, Jean-Paul Sartre & autres, Ed. Robert Delpire, 1963
  • Wols, cat. d'expo., Ed. Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanovre, 1978
  • Wols, sa vie . . . , E. Rathke, Goethe Institut, Paris, 1986
  • Photographs, watercolours, etchings , Inst. Fr Auslandsbeziehungen, 1988
  • Wols , cat. d'exposition, Fondation Joan Miro, Barcelone, 1988
  • Wols , cat. d'exposition, Galerie Karsten Grave, Paris, 1998
  • Wols, J-J., Lvque, Ed. Ides et Calendes, 2002
  • Wols, le tachiste transfigur頻, Marc Alyn, Ed. Bartillat, 2007
  • Otto Wols(1913-1951, cat. Paris Drouot Richelieu, 2011
To read from the artist :
  • Wols, aquarelle, aphorismen , Werner Haffmann Ed., Cologne, 1963
  • Wols, Aphorismes, Hans-Joachim Petersen, Ed. Flammarion, 2010
Website :
www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/wols.html

More :


Art movements

+ SCHOOL OF PARIS / 1945-1960 / Jean Degottex, Georges Mathieu, Nicolas de Stal, etc.
+ LYRIC ART, ABSTRACT, TACHISM / 1950-1960 / Jackson Pollock, Emil Schumacher, etc.
+ PHOTOGRAPHY BETWEEN WARS / 1918-1939 / Robert Tatlin, Alexandre Rodchenko, etc.
All art movements