I call my painting 'Natura mystica' . By this I want to express that I trace the mystery of nature in my pictures. It is the mysterious nature that I want to capture in my paintings.
I was born in Breslau 1937 and lived with my family till early 1945 in Hirschberg.
My father was a dentist, and my mother came from an upper-class family in Breslau. Six children sufficed to guarantee a rather turbulent family life. I was the last-born, having ceded right of way to my twin brother Siegmund.
The Second World War ended in 1945. One of my brothers had been killed in the war, and the Soviet army had advanced into Silesia. My mother and father fled from Silesia separately, she with the three youngest sons, he with the two other children. The parental home was thus abandoned and lost.
Given the total inability of our mother to cope her flight with the three of us, three young boys, turned into a three-year fiasco. But in 1948 our family of seven was reunited in Bernau, then part of the Soviet-occupied zone.
My enthusiasm for art began very early. As a schoolboy I used to go to the museums in Berlin, and I would gaze in wonder at the works of the older masters.
My favourite artists were Old Flemish painters like the van Eyck brothers, Hans Memling, then Hieronymus Bosch, Albert Dürer and Matthias Grünewald.
After experimenting with other techniques, at the age of twenty I did my first oil painting - and came under a spell that was never to let go its hold on me. From that moment, I was enthralled. I used every free minute that I had to paint, and soon it was as essential to me as breathing.
After my parents died - my brothers and sister had left Bernau some time before - my twin brother and I fled to West Berlin, thereby losing our home for a second time. When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, Siegmund and I went to West Germany and pursued our studies in different places there. I wanted to study art history with the intention of making this my profession.
At the beginning of 1966 I got to know Peter Guckel. We decided we wanted a long-term relationship and took a flat together. Emboldened and encouraged by Peter, I gave up my studies. From now on I only wanted to paint.
From the Seventies on, I began to show my paintings regularly in one-man and shared exhibitions, and equally often to sell paintings.
For almost fifty years I have lived - or survived rather - as a freelance artist. That means no regular income. Bills are the only things that are punctual. Until the 31st of December I never know whether it´s been a good year, whether I´ve sold enough paintings.
That takes strong nerves. I have only been able to hold out through these years with the help of my "guardian angel". My friend and life companion Peter Guckel has given me protection and security. Thanks to him alone, I have been able to fulfill my dream of being a painter. For that reason it is to Peter that I dedicate my whole work.
I believe that it is the responsibility of art to give people the strength for life. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche: "We have art so that we are not destroyed by reality".
For this reason the search for beauty is for me one of the main purposes of art! Beauty is essential to life. In all civilizations and all ages, the imperative of beauty has always been one of the main criteria of art. The subject of my painting is the becoming and the passing of our existence, wonder in the face of Creation, the feeling of being a stranger in this world - Natura mystica.
My curriculum vitae is documented in detail in the book "Unter dem Orion" (Under Orion) by Peter Guckel, which also contains his biography and sketches our life together. Time gives rise to a wealth of stories. Sixteen reproductions of my paintings accompany the text.
I am an auto-didact painter, never taught in painting.
Since early youth, I was fascinated by the fine arts. During school holidays, I literally lived in the Berlin museums; I was there every day all day long.
By chance, I got access to oil paints and painted my first picture at the age of 20: a fascination that would not let me go anymore. So I taught myself to paint.
I had my first solo exhibition in Paris in 1963 and sold all the pictures. That was impetus, I just want to paint and thus I finished my art history studies in Cologne without certificate.
Until now, I have painted over 780 pictures, of which the vast majority is privately owned.
I showed my paintings in 160 exhibitions so far, including 70 solo exhibitions.
Excerpt from the most important single and group exhibitions
1961 Große Berliner Kunstausstellung 1961, Berlin
1963 Galerie Jean Camion, Paris
1965 - 1969 Jahresausstellung Kölner Künstler,
Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne
1969 Jahresausstellung, Baukunst-Galerie, Cologne
1970 "Phantastische Malerei", Galerie Gurlitt, Munich
1973 "European Artists", Galerie Espace 200,
1973 Die Insel, Hamburg
1974 "Zeitgenössische Kunst im Hause des
Bundespräsidenten", Beethovenhalle, Bonn
1976 Städtische Galerie, Wuerzburg
1976 Neues Schloss, Meersburg (Lake Constance)
1976 Albrecht-Dürer-Haus, Nuremberg
1977 Internationaler Kunstmarkt, Cologne
1978 Mittelrhein-Museum, Koblenz
1979 Les Racines, Grand Palais, Paris
1981 - 1983 Art Basel, Basle
1984 Interior of the federal guest house
1988 Landesmuseum Koblenz, Festung
1991 Kunsthalle Würzburg, Wuerzburg
1994 Kunsthalle Gießen, Gießen
1995 Hambacher Schloss, Neustadt / Weinstraße
1997 Hambacher Schloss, Neustadt / Weinstraße
1998 Museum Bad Hersfeld
1999 Schlesisches Museum, Görlitz
1999 - 2004 Nikolai-Kirche, Görlitz,
Memory exhibition for Jakob Böhme
(Philosopher, 1575 -1624)
2001 Cusanus-Geburtshaus, Bernkastel-Kues
2003 Haus Fahrbach, Cologne
2003 Museum, Bad Wildungen
2005 Regierungspräsident Köln, Cologne
2005 - 2006 Haus Fahrbach, Cologne
2006 Kirche St. Jürgen, Starkow / Velgast (Stralsund)
2006 Museum, Stralsund
2007 dbb-forum siebengebirge, Königswinter
2007 dbb-club berlin, Berlin
2009 Quellenmuseum, Bad Wildungen
2010 As part of the program 'RUHR 2010':
Participation in the exhibition "Feuerländer -
Regions of Vulcan", Oberhausen
2012/2013 Die Zwillinge Siegmund und Siegbert Hahn
- Ein Graphiker und ein Maler, Fürst-Pückler-
Museum, Park und Schloss Branitz