Bruno Goller’s Pictorial Subjects
Goller’s choice of motifs remained the same throughout his painting career. Inspired by childhood memories of his mother’s millinery store, his primary motifs include store windows, decorations, and female figures. The nudes and portraits painted during the postwar period are particularly reminiscent of flatly portrayed display mannequins.
Significant Moments and Honors for Bruno Goller
In 1949 the painter joined the Neue Rheinische Secession and was appointed to the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. He was a professor of painting there from 1953 to 1964. His students included Blinky Palermo, Konrad Fischer-Lueg, Konrad Klapheck, and Gerda Kratz. He was awarded the Cornelius Prize of the City of Düsseldorf in 1950. The first retrospective devoted to him was organized by the Kestner Society in Hanover in 1958 and curated by Werner Schmalenbach. In the following year, Goller took part in documenta II. From 1960 onward Bruno Goller received numerous awards, including the Great Art Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Lichtwart Prize of the City of Hamburg. In 1965 he represented Germany at the 8th São Paulo Biennial. In 1967 he became a member of the Berlin Akademie der Künste. In the same year, the artist received the Grand Cross of Merit of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Kunstakademie Düsseldorf made Bruno Goller an honorary member in 1984. Two years later, a major retrospective of his work was held at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Bruno Goller died in Düsseldorf on January 19, 1998.
Bruno Goller’s Position in Art History
Goller’s works are a tour de force of the relationship between figuration and abstraction. The artist never joined any artistic movements and remained true to his unique style until the end of his life. Goller developed a subtle viewer’s gaze towards painting. His strict composition and experimental brushstrokes resulted in the clear tone found in the artist’s paintings. His unique position in art may be one reason why Goller is not well known to a wider audience. His estate is managed by his biographer Volker Kahmen and the Bruno Goller Archive in Cologne. Bruno Goller Haus was opened in Goller’s hometown of Gummersbach in 1989 as a municipal cultural center, but closed at the end of 2013 in favor of a new cultural venue.