Karl Otto Götz – 1914 – 2017

I just learned that my favorite painter, Karl Otto Götz, has died on Saturday, aged 103 years.

Götz was the most important artist of the “Informel” movement, the European counterpart of abstract expressionism. Götz was also important as a university teacher (his students include Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, among others) and as a theoretician of art and aesthetics.

See here for previous articles about K.O. Götz on this blog.

(The picture, showing K.O.Götz’ painting “Rimu”, is from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Riemu.jpg.)


Zooming In and Zooming Out

My contribution to the cooperative blog project “Journey of a photograph”. The journey will be going on now…



Nerve impulses running down the spinal cord, triggering muscle cells – mitochondria pumping protons and electrons to provide the energy to move a muscle. The muscle contracts and the fingertip touches the release button, triggering a cascade of electronic signals, calculations, movements of electromechanical parts, chemical reactions inside a battery, a shutter opening, photons flashing inside and triggering chemical changes in the particles of the film. A myriad of smallest and shortest events and processes combine to produce that short “click” that indicates that a picture has been taken. The photographer looks away and her mind and eye turn on something else.

A short moment in her life. The moment she pressed the trigger of her camera. Clouds, trees or bushes, houses, the horizon, the sun. Motion blur. Lens Flair.

The photograph was shot while in motion, maybe from a train or a car. The hexagonal spots of lens flair…

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This is the second time I am reblogging a post of an artist I find remarkable on The Kellerdoscope. To me, the paintings of Ashley Sullivan are mesmerizing. Some are pure abstracts, some are landscapes, some are cityscapes or show industrial motives, with varying degrees of abstraction. Many of them are magic for me. I had a hard time deciding which of these paintings to choose. Just have a look yourself.

Portrait of Rolf Keller, by Rudolf Kraus


A portrait showing Rolf Keller, drawing. This drawing was made by Rudolf Kraus, another artist living in Karl-Marx-Stadt (today Chemnitz) at the time. The drawing (pen and (probably) black chalk, ca. 14.3 cm x 21.5 cm), signed “Rudolf Kraus, Nov. 22nd, 1956) used to be hanging in my parents living room, so I grew up seeing it. This is the form my grandfather was present most of the time. It is now hanging in my living room.

A caricature made by Herbert Reuter, yet another artist, on January 4th 1962, shows Rudolf (“Rudi”) Kraus, among others. Here is a clipping of it showing Rudolf Kraus (showing this caricature completely needs more preparation to explain the context, so I am not going to do that today):


Rudolf Kraus is mainly known for works in public places. After the end of the German Democratic Republic, many of these, often in the style of socialist realism, were not thought to be worth keeping and where destroyed during building projects. Looking at the pictures in the Wikipedia article (linked to the name above), I tend to agree. However, the low artistic quality was obviously not due to missing ability on the side of the artist, as the drawing above is of high quality and is attesting the abilities of the artist. Rather the bad taste and ideological thinking of the people in the awarding authorities seems to be responsible. I don’t know how he was thinking about the political system, maybe he simply had no choice.

But I suspect that there must be quite some drawings or other private works of this artist, mostly probably in private collections, so his real oeuvre remains to be discovered.

A Long Time in the Making


This gallery contains 15 photos.

This beautiful book arrived in my mail today. There is so much detail to explore that you can only glimpse if you see the pictures posted. Seeing a work of art as an original is really different. A very special, … Continue reading

Hans Josephson in Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg

File:Berlin Josephson 30983.jpg

On Saturday I visited an exhibition of some works of Sculptor Hans Josephson in the Ernst Barlach Haus in Hamburg. I had seen some of Josephson’s sculptures in the Kolumba museum in Cologne before. So I was exited to learn that there was an exhibition in Hamburg in that particular museum.

Having grown up and gone to school in the vicinity of the Jenischpark in which that museum is situated, it was a special pleasure for me to visit both the park and the museum, especially since the weather was nice. And I did not regret going into this exhibition.

The picture above shows one of Josephson’s “Halbfiguren” (in Berlin – unfortunately I have no pictures from the Hamburg exhibition) but you have to see one yourself to see how great this art is. To capture the real beauty of these works on photograph, one would need a lot of pictures for each of them, including close ups and macro photos of the surface. Josephson used brass but left it unpolished, covered in a kind of patina just the way they came out of the casting mold. The surfaces of these sculptures are extremely varied and rich in shapes, textures and colors. He is actually the master of the surface, almost like a painter in 3D. While in most other sculptures, the main effect is in the overal shape and the concepts triggered by it, here it is the surface. You have to look at them from a short distance. Some of the sculptures and reliefs are still figurative, but some (like the one above) look just like rocks or boulders and figurative elements have nearly or completely disappeared from these works.

Pictures like the one above do not do justice to the richness and beauty of the irregular surface structures. This might be one of the reasons why Josephson is not so well known. His works do not look so spectacular from a distance or on a picture. But I am sure his fame will grow.

If you look at on of these “boulders” from a short distance and walk around them to study them from all sides, they throw you into a state before words. It is hard to describe these sculptures and their effect, so I will not try. This is something that words cannot capture. Just go there yourself and see them.

Josephson was born in Königsberg (today Kaliningrad) but spend most of his life in Switzerland and acquired the Swiss citizenship. Besides Alberto Giacometti, he is regarded as the second great Swiss sculptor. Giacometti might have been the more versatile artist, but for my personal taste, just as a sculptor Josephson is the greater one, although he is less famous.

(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Berlin_Josephson_30983.jpg.)