Conrad Westpfahl

(Berlin 1891 - 1976 Wetzhausen)

Conrad Westpfahl's artistic path was repeatedly interrupted by the inanities of the times. Only at the age of 60 he found his expression in a radical way in abstraction. At a time when abstract art was met with suspicion and rejection, he consistently continued on his path, both artistically and intellectually. He participated actively in the so-called Darmstadt Talks, which took place from 1950-75 and addressed, among other things, the image of man in the art of abstraction. His line fields were created by gestural rhythms and movements that determine the composition of the picture. The secondary position of the color can be seen as a demarcation to the contemporaneous Informel. (E.W., J.D.)


born in Berlin
studies with Emil Orlik at the training institute of the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts
changes to the genre painter and portraitist Hugo Freiherr von Habermann at the Academy in Munich
attends the private Academy Ranson in Paris, becomes a student of Felix Vallotton there
1914 - 1918
during the First World War he served as a battery commander and airman
returns to Berlin and rents studio to continue work
takes part in the group exhibition "Berliner Secession" and exhibits drawings at the Berlin Academy
1926 - 1930
lives in Provence and travels extensively
moves to Paris, where he creates his first exclusively abstract works and collages
1934 - 1939
lives in Greece and exhibits twice in Athens
return to Germany, beginning of his friendship with Werner Gilles, Günther Franke, Fritz Winter and E. W. Nay
is banned from painting, moves to Pöcking near Munich
begins publications on art including: Essay "On Art Education," "Degenerate Art," "On Abstract Art" (both in 1947), "Turn to Non-Objectivity" in 1953, and "Ornament or Emblem?" 1955
beginning of his non-figurative work phase; his first purely abstract exhibition is presented at the Art Association in Munich in 1952
Guest of honor at Villa Massimo in Rome
Guest of honor at the Villa Romana in Florence
makes long trips especially to Greece
dies in Wetzhausen in Lower Franconia