Fritz Winter, one of the leading post–war German artists, conquered the abstract pictorial world at an early stage. Each phase of his career, which spanned over 50 years, yielded works of profound inner strength. His canvases abound in energy, which at the same time, appears to be waiting for an external sign before bursting out. Yet amidst all this tightly–bound energy and dynamism which dominate his paintings, one always senses the presence of something more liminal – one is almost tempted almost to say a soft humming, a hushed whisper, reminding us of a higher being. Often in his works one encounters formations which allude to archetypes, to fundamental manifestations of spiritual life. And up to the present day, the paintings of Fritz Winter have successfully retained their contemporary relevance and validity. "We are working on things and pictures whose beginnings lie thousands of years before our time," Franz Winter once wrote in his dairy: "In our daily activities we are working for the future and forging a link between these beginnings and what lies millennia ahead of us – in compliance with the law of the next higher order." Born in Altenbögge near Unna (Westphalia) as the oldest of eight children, this son of a miner first attended secondary school in Ahlen and then followed his father into the mines before at the age of 19 turning to art. Inspired by the paintings of Paula Modersohn–Becker, he also became acquainted with the art of Van Gogh on a trip through the Netherlands. After being admitted to the Staatliches Bauhaus in Dessau, where he studied from 1927 to 1930, among others under Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Schlemmer and Paul Klee, Winter soon began to devote himself increasingly to abstraction. By 1931, he had already produced his first organic coloured surfaces, which – similar to still–lives – are carefully arranged in the composition. Banned from painting and exhibiting by the National Socialist regime, Winter was able to pick up where he had left off in the 1930s and 1940s, and resume painting again after the end of WWII. In the years between 1951 and 1961, he fashioned works of a more gestural character in which colour was deployed exclusively as an expressive device. These light, festive symphonies of colour have lost nothing of their fascination to the present today. Here colours are not perceived symbolically or metaphysically, but more radically – as a sensual and immediate function of their distinct inherent values. In 1967 Winter abandoned the amorphous bands of colour, which hither to had characterised his work, in favour of clearer, more formal boundaries. The elegant, clearly demarcated rectangular stripes and irregular coloured forms are arranged onto the canvas using a template. Forms and ground are clearly separated, without interstices. These macroforms dominate the work “With Red" from 1969, which impresses by virtue of its monumentality.
(Fritz Winter; Aus Briefen und Tagbüchern 1932 – 1950, Bern 1951, p16, quoted here from: Lothar Romain; Über Fritz Winter, in: Fritz Winter – Zum 80. Geburtstag, Städtisches Gustav–Lübke–Museum, Hamm, 22.9 – 27.10.1985, Fritz–Winter–Haus, Ahlen, 21.9. – 15.12.1985, Heimatmuseum Ahlen, 21.9. – 27.10.1985, Hamm 1985, p. 79–97, here: p. 85)
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