The Artist Birthday Series

Otto Freundlich

"Ascension," 1929
“Ascension,” 1929

The early 1930’s was a prolific time for Freundlich, with numerous publications, exhibitions, and creation of paintings and sculpture. In 1933 Freundlich painted My Sky Is Red, which is now in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art of Paris. The changing social and political climate becomes clear on April 11 of that year when the Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis.

“Mein Roter Himmel (My Sky Is Red)” – 1933

In 1934 he participated in the Salon des Independants in Paris, and he begins seeking French nationality with support including Georges Braque, but was unable to raise enough money and he was denied. In 1936, he founded his private art academy but by 1937, his sculpture Der neue Mensch, was reproduced by the Nazis on the cover of the catalog of the traveling exhibition of what had been deemed “degenerate art” by the Nazi regime. Fourteen of his works were destroyed at this time as a result.


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2 thoughts on “Otto Freundlich

  1. here here!
    why was this man omitted from MOMA’s big 2013 Abstraction Show?
    an egregious error if their remit is the emergence of “Western” abstract art.
    and such a poignant story to boot, the refugee pacifist German betrayed by the French, France where he had worked so much, not least his iconic, front rank 1911 abstract image, yes 1911, still hanging Paris.

    1. Thanks for the comment William. It has been a very interesting journey compiling these bios, and some stories, such as Freundlich’s, need to be told before they are lost to history all together. My main goal with this project was to find artists that I found inspiring for various reasons, and celebrate them here. I tried to focus on the more obscure or “forgotten” artists, though some well known artists have inspired me immensely and so they are celebrated as well. But it is comments such as yours that make this project so worthwhile for me…thank you so much!

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