Art of the 20th Century




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Richard Oelze



 


Rudolf Dodenhoff
Portrait Richard Oelze
1948

 

Richard Oelze

(b Magdeburg, 29 June 1900; d Posteholz, nr Hameln, 27 May 1980).

 German painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar under Johannes Itten (1921–5). His early work was influenced by Constructivism, but Oelze was soon impressed by Neue Sachlichkeit, with which he became familiar while living in Dresden (1926–9). At this time he also became acquainted with Otto Dix and his work. His pictures from the late 1920s, for example Still-life with White Plate and Coloured Balls (oil on panel, 1928–9; Berne, priv. col.), show a clear concreteness and strong composition and reflect the trance-like state found in works of Magic Realism. During this period he also visited the Bauhaus in Dessau for several months. On a trip to Ascona in 1929 he saw reproductions of the works of Max Ernst and Hans Arp for the first time. In 1933 he moved to Paris, where he remained until 1936 and made contact with the Surrealists. By the 1930s dreams and premonitions were becoming themes in his work, and his paintings increasingly featured dream-creatures, combinations of animal and plant, plant and human, human and animal. In the painting Daily Tribulations (1934; Düsseldorf, Kstsamml. Nordrhein–Westfalen) the fears and difficulties experienced by Oelze one year after the Nazis had taken power in Germany were given visual form. Morbid forms in a river dominate the picture and block, like a hedge, any view into depth. In the same year that it was painted this work was enthusiastically taken up by the Surrealists at an exhibition in the Porte de Versailles. In 1936 it was shown in New York at the Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism exhibition at MOMA. Expectation (1936; New York, MOMA), probably Oelze’s best-known work, conveys like no other picture of its time the mood in Europe in those years, in all its oppressiveness and apprehension. The clarity of the realism of the human figures is contrasted with the dark forms of vegetal growth; both dissolve in the cool and utterly alien coloration cast over them by the deep sky. The deep perspective of this picture is unusual in Oelze’s work.



 


Valley of Josaphat
1969


 


Dream Landscape


 


Forest
1963-1964


 


Abschied (Mit dem Schlitten)


 


Die Troglodytenmauer
1957


 


Weisse Taube
1963



 


Statt Blumen und Blut
1963


 


Baumlandschaft
1935


 


Moor der Seelen
1969


 


Der Jakobiner
1951



 


Moor-Geister
1952


 


Losone Landscape
1959


 


Study for "The Many Worlds Ends"
1967


 


Imaginary Portrait


 


Veiled at the End
1961


 


Landscape with Chapel
1947


 


Secret Landscapes
1959


 


Study for "Ornithology Portrait"
1968


 


In One of the Following Years (When Also of Another Beauty II)
1967


 


Es gibt viele Enden der Welt
1967



 


Expectation
1935



 


Anthropomorphe Landschaft
1954


 


Mit der zufalligen Familie
1955


 


Pflanzennebel
1959


 


Am Fluss der Klagen
1955


 


Am Ende verschleiert
1961


 


Nach der Erzahlung eines Traumes
1961


 


Vert
1962


 


Platz der Urnen
1962


 


Sodom
1954


 


Studie zu Gipsi
1951


 


Vogelstudie
1968


 


Tierstudie
1968


 


Figur
1967

 

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