* 13 February 1895 in Frankfurt/Main; † 28 March 1972 in Seeshaupt/Lake Starnberg
German painter and graphic artist
As a painter and teacher at the Munich Academy of Arts, Ernst Geitlinger makes significant contributions to the establishment of abstract art in West Germany after World War 2. As an 18-year-old in 1913 he moves with his parents to New York where he enrols at the Academy of Design and works as a drawing teacher and stage painter. In 1922 he returns to Germany in order to study painting at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts under Prof Karl Caspar. He has his first solo exhibition in 1931 at Gallery Weber in Berlin. During the National Socialist period his art is denounced as ‘degenerate’. He is banned from exhibiting and existing commissions are withdrawn. Since failing in all his attempts to go into exile, he withdraws into an ‘inner emigration’. During the war, he is deployed, from 1943, as a translator in a camp for English prisoners of war. Before the bombs fall on Munich his wife saves most of his paintings.
After his discharge from an American POW camp he lives and works in Seeshaupt. In 1946 he has an exhibition at the Gallery Rosen in Berlin; in 1948 he is represented at the Venice Biennale and in 1950 the Washington Whyte Gallery (by Franz Bader) presents an “Ernst-Geitlinger-Show”. In 1951 he is appointed professor of painting and graphic arts at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. After his retirement in 1965 he founds a private painting school. The city of Neu-Ulm owns the artistic estate of Ernst Geitlinger. The local Edwin Scharff Museum presents a selection of his work on permanent exhibition.