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Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits16 works from the early period of Paul Klee's probably best-known student: Fritz Winter
Fritz Winter, Driving forces of the earth, 1944. Fritz-Winter-Stiftung, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen. Photo: Johannes Haslinger, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

MUNICH.- Parallel to the exhibition ‘Paul Klee. Construction of Mystery’ (01 March – 10 June 2018) the Fritz Winter Foundation is presenting 16 works from the early period of Klee’s probably best-known student. This is the first public presentation of a small selection of the new core holdings of the Fritz Winter Foundation, which was acquired by the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen in 2017 on indefinite loan. A highlight of the show are two recent acquisitions from Fritz Winter’s famous group of works ‘Driving forces of the earth’ (1944).

Fritz Winter (1905-1976) is considered one of the foremost German representatives of the second generation of abstract painters. He studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau under Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer; during the Nazi regime his work was banned as ‘degenerate’. On his return from Russian POW camp he co-founded with Willi Baumeister, Rupprecht Geiger and other artists the ‘Gruppe der Gegenstandslosen’ (Group of non-representational artists) in Munich, later renamed ‘ZEN 49’. From the 1950s onwards, Winter was awarded numerous art prizes and enjoyed international success.

Multifaceted in its painting technique and formal qualities, Fritz Winter’s oeuvre stands in a tradition committed equally to the art of ‘Der Blaue Reiter’ and the Bauhaus. With his largely non-figurative formal language, he sought a superior connection to nature in order to make visible the elemental forces and structures underpinning all creation: ‘It requires much greater faith and much greater skill to make the invisible visible in free form than to attest to the visible and tangible simply as they are.’

The presentation in Room 15 of the Pinakothek der Moderne brings together 16 works by Fritz Winter from the late 1920s to the 1940s. Large-format monotypes and scratch drawings bear witness to his phase of experimental learning in Paul Klee’s free painting classes. In the ‘Abstract still lifes’, ‘Zellenbilder’ (Cell paintings), ‘Stellar constellations (Star paintings) and ‘Kristallbilder’ (Crystal paintings) from the 1930s Winter explored issues of space, light and growth. As a soldier on the Eastern front he drew complex abstract studies of nature on the smallest of formats. With his work cycle ‘Driving forces of the earth’, accomplished during a period of home leave convalescing from a war wound, he created one of his most impressive attestations of the artistic will to survive. In the post-war period his ‘Driving forces’ were celebrated as key works displaying the wealth of abstract form and today still testify to the quality and power of artworks that came about during ‘inner emigration’.

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