Paul Wunderlich, German (1927 - 2010)

   Born in Eberswalde on 10 March 1927. The German painter studied at the Kunstschule in the orangery of the castle of Eutin. In 1947 he went to the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste, Hamburg, and studied graphic art. He extended his training by another semester to work under Willem Gremm. In 1951 he was offered a teaching post at the school, which he held until 1961. In 1963 he became Professor for the Graphic Arts and Painting. Between 1951 and 1952, under the instruction of Emil Nolde and Oskar Kokoschka, he produced prints after their originals. In 1957 he created a series of Tachist paintings, for example S111/57 but he destroyed most of them later.

Towards the end of the 1950s he produced his first figurative prints and paintings. In the beginning their subjects were events from more recent German history, for example the set of lithographs 20 July 1944 (1959; Berlin, Gal. Brusberg), which depicted the execution of the men who had conspired against Adolf Hitler. This subject-matter was increasingly replaced by an eroticism that is partly Surrealist, partly decorative. In 1960 the public prosecutor of Hamburg confiscated such a series of prints.

Paul Wunderlich is professor of graphic art and painting at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg, is a painter, sculptor and lithographer who lives and works for part of the year in Hamburg and the rest in France. Married in 1963 to the photojournalist and fine art photographer Karin Szekessy (b. 1939, Essen), he sometimes paints and makes prints from the nude photographs made by Szekessy. Wunderlich belongs to the second generation of Fantastic Realists, sometimes called Magical Realists. These artists have remained faithful to the tradition although the imagery has remained contemporary. Paul Wunderlich, the most prominent among them, has developed a style slightly cooler in temperament and more analytical. Often borrowing from classical mythology, he emphasizes the human form within a context that blends together contemporary and historical references. With cool aloofness, Wunderlich transports the viewer into a world of surreal eroticism and aesthetic symbolism. Again and again, Wunderlich spices his Fantastic Realism with a startling dose of irony. After Picasso and Max Ernst no other artist has contributed as much to the sculpture of painters as Paul Wunderlich. The themes for his sculptures and objects are closely linked to his paintings, drawings and lithographs. Wunderlich sculptures and objects combine the simplicity of an idea with the refinement of the material, and imagination with perfection in shaping something into a perfect form. As an artist, Paul Wunderlich has remained faithful to his own artistic visions. Over a period of several decades, Wunderlich’s complex and comprehensive body of work has led to numerous exhibitions in museums worldwide. In 1994-95, he had retrospectives in several Japanese museums (Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido, Gifu). Wunderlich has been successful in numerous international print competitions and has received many awards. In 1964, he was awarded the Japan Cultural Forum Award, Tokyo; in 1967, he received the Award Premio Marzotti, Italy; in 1970, he was awarded the Gold-Medal in Florence, Italy; in 1978, he received Gold-Medals at the Grafik-Biennale in Taiwan and in Bulgaria.

He lived and worked in Hamburg and Saint-Pierre-de-Vassols (Provence), where he died after a short illness.

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