Fritz Winter

Hardly any other artist shaped the German art world of the 20th century in as many ways as Fritz Winter. Beginning as a student of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky at the Bauhaus, his formal language increasingly developed into the abstract, not only thanks to the influence of Naum Gabo, in whose studio he worked temporarily in 1930.
After the end of the Second World War, which the artist experienced at the front and until 1949 as a war prisoner, Winter succeeded in following on new artistic movements. The participation in the first documenta in 1955 positioned Winter alongside Willi Baumeister, Karl Hartung and other companions as a pioneer and avant-gardist of post-war abstraction. The 1960s in particular, from which the 1967 painting “Rot-Schwarz-Blau vertikal” (Red-Black-Blue Vertical) also originates, mark a new liberty in the use of colour on the the artist’s part. Motifs are broken up and the pure surface of the sujet gains in importance. Lineaments of black break the composition and at the same time intensify the contrasts of red and blue. Slightly accentuated shadows and flowing transitions along the edges of the colour fields skilfully create a spatial feeling of deepness. The picture’s content thus reveals an enormously condensed dynamic, which is further emphasised by the choice of the upright format paired with the vertical bands of colour. Fritz Winter succeeds in emancipating the colour and letting it speak for itself.

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