• Bernard Schultze

  • Das spitze Ding, 1984
    Aquarell auf Papier auf Leinwand, 226,5 x 137 cm
  • Wege in die Irre, 1992
    Mischtechnik auf Papier, 54 x 61 cm
  • Handbarriere, 1965
    Mischtechnik auf Karton, 49,3 x 64,3 cm
  • irgendwo lauert es, 1981
    Kreide auf Papier auf Leinwand, 234 x 144 cm


Bernard Schultze, born in 1915 in Schneidermühl (Pomerania), moved with his family to Berlin at the age of seven, where he began his studies at the University of Art Education in 1934 and completed them at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf.

His early representational work was destroyed by bombing in 1944. After a transitional period in Flensburg, Schultze moved to Frankfurt am Main in 1947. The “tabuskris” (from the Latin “tabulae scriptae”, written tablets) were created here; Relief images made from collaged everyday objects and paintings. Through his friendship with K.O. Götz, he received direct contact with the French art scene and made regular trips to the tachists Georges Mathieu and Hans Hartung. In the Amerika-Haus in Frankfurt he discovered the works of Jackson Pollock and Marc Tobey, among others, in art magazines, which had a strong influence on him. In 1952 he founded K.O. Götz, Otto Greis and Heinz Kreutz formed the artist group Quadriga.

The renunciation of representation represented a break with (artistic) conventions; it was the newly discovered freedom after the oppression of the National Socialists and the disturbing war. For Schultze, Informal was a demarcation of forms and static compositions. Inspired by the surrealist écriture automatique, he gave his hand free rein. For him, Schultze's unconceptual painting was a manifestation of his freedom as a person and artist in the post-war period. He started at a corner or in the middle of the picture support and rotated it several times during the painting process in order to increase the dynamics of the spontaneous composition. The result was multi-layered images with partly impasto, partly translucent paint application.

From the late 1950s onwards, he created relief images, collages and assemblages that were the forerunners of his famous "Migofs". These fantastic creations - half living things, half art - populated his work from 1961 onwards and grew out of canvases and works on paper until they finally matured into independent, room-filling sculptures and environments. Influenced by their surroundings - the bombed-out post-war Frankfurt - the Migofs often present themselves as imperfect, unfinished, decaying, seemingly destroyed. Despite their sometimes monumental dimensions, the Migof sculptures always have a delicate character, caused, among other things, by the leafy arrangement of the individual elements or the loose wire mesh. Bernhard Schultze's contribution to the documenta in 1964 was brilliantly taken up by the art scene and his Migof installations were described as an artistic highlight.

Works on paper represent an important part of his oeuvre. The fine drawings created since the 1960s with pencils, felt-tip pens, colored pencils, ballpoint pens, ink and watercolors were often supplemented by collages made from newspaper clippings. The works, created using random assemblage techniques, encourage the viewer to contemplate and free association.

His tongue collages on paper are meticulous creations. They consist of fine lines and equally fragile-looking leaves, which rise three-dimensionally from the sheet and thus create a certain depth.

His gestural, abstract way of working is reflected in his sometimes very large canvases. The artist interprets the naturalistic elements such as surreal landscapes, roots or growths in different colors. Grisaille pictures began to be created increasingly in the 1970s; the 1980s were characterized by strong, saturated colors with depth-creating surfaces. In the 1990s, Schultze painted many watercolors that evoked great lightness through their pastel tones.

The painter, sculptor, poet and set designer Bernard Schultze died in Cologne in 2005, shortly before his 90th birthday. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, the new catalog raisonné will be published on May 29, 2015 in the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.

We live in a time of art fragments and use them in the sense of collage... And the more history accumulates around us, the more the analytical moment in creativity expands within us.

Bernard Schultze


Museum and single exhibitions (selection)


Bernard Schultze, Karl Otto Götz ua., formlos-Kunst nach 1945, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe


Ein heller Hauch, ein funkelnder Wind, ARP MUSEUM Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen

Sigrid Kopfermann - Bernard Schultze zum 100. Geburtstag, Kopfermann-Fuhrmann-Stiftung, Düsseldorf

Bernard Schultze zum hundersten Geburtstag, MUSEUM LUDWIG, Köln

Bernard Schultze, Werke aus der Sammlung Kemp, Stiftung Kemp im Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf


Traumwelten, Museum Moderner Kunst, Wörlen

WELTREISE-KUNST AUS DEUTSCHLAND UNTERWEGS, Tourneeausstellung aus dem ifa Bestand, Rückblick auf 40 Jahre Kunst in der Auswärtigen Kulturpolitik, Beginn im ZKM Museum für Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe


Privatim - Arbeiten aus der Sammlung Klaus und Doris Crummenerl, Herforder Kunstverein im Daniel Pöppelmann Haus, Herford

AUSDERZEIT, Kunst der 50er und 60er Jahre aus der Sammlung Ströher, Zusammenschau abstrakter und informeller Kunst der Nachkriegszeit mit Werken Bernard Schultze, Fred Thieler, Willi Baumeister, K.O. Götz u. a., Villa Schöningen Potsdam

MENAGERIE Tierschau aus der Sammlung Würth, Kunsthalle Würth, Schwäbisch Hall

Von Beckmann bis Warhol, Die Sammlung Bayer im Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

TRAUM-BILDER, Pinakothek Der Moderne, München


Bernard Schultze - Gegenwelten – Retrospektive, MKM Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst