Francis Bott

1904

Born as Ernst Bott in Frankfurt a. M..

 

1910

Enrolment in „Pensionat des Frères“ in Neuchâtel; in the following years he visits different, mostly French-speaking schools and residential schools in Switzerland and Belgium.

 

1918

Family Bott lives in Cologne; Francis Bott gets to know Anton Räderscheidt, Heinrich Hörle and others.

 

1919

Acquaintance with Max Ernst in Cologne.

 

1921

His father dies.
Beginning of a rover-life.

 

1924

First stay in Berlin. Bott gets to know Herwarth Walden and everybody, who is part of the „Sturm“, but is more interested in theater.
Bott drives as a stowaway from Hamburg to Bahia, where he hires at a freighter to Vera Cruz; hikes through Mexico and the U.S. to New York. From there he returns as a cook on a freighter.
Bott gets to know his future wife Maria Gruschka (called Manja, daughter of a rabbi, born in Poland).

 

1925

Stay in Berlin, contact with KDP. Acquaintance with Berthold Brecht.

 

1926

Bott moves with Maria Gruschka to Vienna, he earns money by singing at the street.

 

1928

Stay in Berlin, contact with Brecht. He joins KDP.

 

1930

In cause of the global economic crisis, Bott moves from Vienna to friends from KDP in Frankfurt a. M..

 

1932

Bott returns to Vienna, during his stay in Frankfurt a. M. he gets condemned to imprisonment because of his political occupation in Frankfurt.

 

1933

Tries to help a friend in NĂĽrnberg, he gets arrested, but he can escape.
He sells some paintings to earn money to go back to Vienna. There he gets arrested and should be deported to the German Reich, but is brought to the Czech border.
Stay in Prague, contact with Oskar Kokoschka.

 

1936

Bott and Manja have to leave Czechoslovakia in autumn, stay for some months in Yugoslavia.

 

1937

Bott and Manja travel from Zagreb over Northern Italy to Paris. Bott takes part in the Spanish Civil War in the brigade of Thälmann for a short time, but he is called back to Paris for the preparation of the exhibition „Fünf Jahre Hitler“ (“Five years of Hitler”) in Maison de la Culture.
First exhibition participation.

 

1938

Participation in the exhibition of the „Freier Deutscher Künstlerbund“ within the German culture-week in Paris, Brussels, Antwerp and London.

 

1939

Participation in „Salon des Tuileries“ in the Palais de Chaillot;
Beginning of the war on 1st august, Bott gets interned and volunteers for the French army, but he only gets into different compounds.

 

1940

Bott gets allocated to the English units of the Army. After the ceasefire on 22nd June, Bott moves with the 702nd company to Toulouse, where Manja is already arrived. Bott gets demobilized on 27th June; he is one of the 87 of German resistance fighters, who have to be at its mercy. He moves to Couiza, in the south of Carcassonne in the Corbiere, where he works as a woodcutter. On 14th October Bott and Manja get married. Bott paints the choir of the church in Arques.

 

1941

Exhibition at the Gallery Bonnet in Montpellier.

 

1942

On 11th November Vichy-France gets occupied by German trups. Bott and Manja move to Aurillac in the Chantal in Central France. Bott affiliates with the resistance group Franc Tireurs Partisans.

 

1944

Liberation of Paris on 25th august; Bott and Manja return to Paris in november; Bott is earning money by casual works and paintings.

 

1946

Bott buys an atelier on the Montparnasse.

 

1948

Friendship with Francis Picabia.

 

1952

Works on the scenery for the drama „Outside the Door“ of Wolfgang Borchert at the Théâtre de l’Humour; Bott gets to know Alix de Rothschild, sells his first painting to her and she offers him a one-year scholarship.

 

1957

Herta Wescher dedicades a long article to Bott in the magazine „Das Kunstwerk“ (Heft X);
TV movie directed by Willy Maywald and Clarissa Dreyer named „Drei Künstler von Montparnasse“ (“Three artists of Montparnasse”) about Bott, Viera da Silva and Soulages.

 

1961

Bott works on lithographs in Erkerpresse in St. Gallen in October. Manja dies during her return to Paris.

 

1962

Bott teaches as a guest lecturer on the Hochschule fĂĽr Bildende KĂĽnste in Hamburg for three months during summer semester.

 

1967

Marriage to Aida Hussein in Basel

 

1968

Bott lives alternately in Paris, Munich (until April 1969) and in Leonberg near Stuttgart (October 1969 until September 1970), where his second wife Aida is working as an anaesthetist.

 

1970

Aida gets a new work in Locarno; Bott lives alternately in Paris and Losone.

 

1983

The bread still-lifes of Bott are shown for the first time in the magazine „Ellebore“ No. 7 by Edouard Jaguer; leaves his flat in Tessin, from now on he lives in Paris and Ponte Tresa, but he still has his second atelier in Breganzona.

 

1985

January: By reason of the opening of the administration building (by Architect Giampiero Camponovo), the Overland Trust Bank in Lugano shows in all rooms artworks of Francis Bott; Like in the past years, Bott designs the booklet and the posters for “14es Rencontres Internationales de Musiques Contemporaine“ in Metz.

 

1987

Retrospective at the Villa Malpensata, Lugano (Kunsthalle of Lugano).

 

1990

Exhibition at the Gallery Westenhoff in Hamburg from 28.9. to 31.10.1990.

 

1998

Francis Bott dies in Lugano.

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