It is almost the first anniversary of the unfortunate passing of the German-born Australian artist, Gunter Christmann, who died on 19th November, 2013. Christmann was born in Berlin, on 23 April 1936 and emigrated to Australia in 1959. His works from the 1960s involved both abstract and figurative paintings and he became a frequent exhibitor from 1965 onwards, in Australia and overseas. His works have been labelled as ‘one of Australia’s best kept secrets of his generation’ as described by Mary Eagle, an art historian and curator. His landmark exhibition was The Field at the National Gallery of Victoria in 1968. His next participation was the 1971 – XI Bienniale at Sao Paolo, Brazil; which was then followed by the First and Fourth Biennale of Sydney in 1973 and 1982 respectively. Further works have been submitted to the:
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
- National Gallery of Victoria and other State galleries
- Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
- H.R.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands’ Collection
- British Museum, London and the
- Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade.
Christmann exhibited in many high profile commercial galleries throughout his career. The longest-standing being Niagara Galleries, Melbourne; with whom he exhibited from 1984 onwards.
His more recent works incorporated a ‘’tag” or graffiti style that is drawn across his paintings, sometimes in almost obsessive repetition. Christmann’s work featured in the 2011 Auckland Art Fair and the 2012 Melbourne Art Fair. In 2014, his commissioned work was to be exhibited at Heide Museum of Modern Art, as part of a retrospective, but sadly Christmann could not fulfil his intended commitment.
The featured image is entitled: SaatWinkel (1997) oil on canvas (168×137) on loan from the McMahon Collection to Holmesglen Institute of Technology. (SaatWinkel is a neighborhood of one of Berlin’s 96 districts).