Bernard Schultze – Works on Paper and Sculptures 1954–2000

(Text accompanying exhibition marking the artist’s 85th birthday, from 9.12.2000 until 3.3.2001)

In its studio exhibition entitled "Blickpunkt Informel" ("Focus on Art Informel"), the Henze & Ketterer Gallery, Berne/Wichtrach, is currently showing drawings and watercolours and a selection of sculptures by the painter Bernard Schultze. The exhibits range from the legendary deformed and painted shop window dummy, "Migof", and early coloured drawings of the 1950s to the artist’s most recent works.

Bernard Schultze is one of the few still living exponents of the movement of abstraction – especially that of Art Informel – that rapidly spread across the entire world after 1948. Both he and his wife Ursula, who died in 1999, were members of the legendary artists’ group "Quadriga" in Frankfurt, though ever since 1968 both of them had been living and working in Cologne, where he also celebrated his 85th birthday on 31st May of this year, an occasion marked by numerous exhibitions in museums and galleries, including "Inner Monologue", an exhibition of his sculptures at the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, and "Black and White – Drawings and Poems" at the Folkwang Museum in Essen. It is to his works on paper (drawings and watercolours) and sculpture, two disciplines that are just as important to the artist as his painting, that the Henze & Ketterer Gallery is devoting its last exhibition in the year of Bernard Schultze’s 85th birthday.

Although the figurative and representational were largely ousted by abstraction in 1948, the "figure" has remained Bernard Schultze’s theme right up until the present. This is manifest above all in his drawing, which has always furnished the underlying structures for his paintings. But the "figure" inevitably made its way into his three-dimensional work, too, first into his collages and then into his reliefs. It was this figurative aspect of his work that enabled him to formulate an artistic response to Nouveau RĂ©alisme in the early 1960s with his "Migofs", the shop window dummies  he metamophosed to the point of abstraction.  While this open-minded pictor doctus, who is also a poet, created an oeuvre of a consistency and coherence that matched the works of, say, Emil Schumacher, K.O. Götz and Pierre Soulages and was characterized not least by this abstract "figure" that seemed to vanish the very moment one thought one had captured it visually, Bernard Schultze was able to react uncompromisingly to his time and its changing taste and spirit. That is what is so special about this artist, who to this day has remained constantly and highly productive, a fact manifest not least in his latest drawings and watercolours.

Galerie Henze & Ketterer
Kirchstrasse 26, CH 3114 Wichtrach
Tel. +41 (0)31 781 06 01
Galerie Henze & Ketterer & Triebold
Wettsteinstrasse 4, CH 4125 Riehen
Tel. +41 (0)61 641 77 77