* 10. May 1899 in Liège/ Belgium; † 25 February 1975 in Berlin
german painter and photographer
The artistic work of Fritz Kuhr is fundamentally influenced by the Bauhaus. As a young man, in 1924, he goes to the Bauhaus in Weimar and becomes a student under Paul Klee, who had a lasting impression on him. Here he also meets László Moholi-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky and other masters and learns from them. In addition to painting, Fritz Kuhr occupies himself with experimental photography. He actively takes part in the educational institution’s social life, representing the students in the council of masters; thus being able to have a say in decisions on the Bauhaus’ course. In the controversial dispute about the position of painting, Kuhr advocates independent and free painting at the Bauhaus. In 1925 he follows the Bauhaus to Dessau, where he from 1927 on works in the workshop of mural painting. Klee’s studio and residence in Dessau are furnished on the basis of his blueprints. Hannes Meyer, as successor of Walter Gropius from 1928 on in charge of the Bauhaus, supports Kuhr in a number of matters. In 1929 Kuhr is a teacher at the Bauhaus, teaching “representational drawing, nude and figure drawing”. The artist takes part in collective exhibitions staged by the Bauhaus and Werkbund. When in 1930 the Nazis become a pre-eminent political force in Dessau, Kuhr goes to Berlin as a freelance painter. Individual and international collective exhibitions follow. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, who takes a strong interest in Kuhr’s artistic work, arranges an exhibition for him in Davos, in 1932. During the reign of National Socialism, Kuhr’s art is defamed as “degenerate”, and the artist withdraws into an inner emigration. To earn a living, he works from 1933 to 1944 as a decoration painter. In 1943 and 1944 many of his works are destroyed in air raids. Shelter and support he finds with his colleague, the paintress Bettina Encke (née von Arnim). After World War II, Karl Hofer offers him a professorship at the College of Fine Arts in Berlin.
Up to 1971, Fritz Kuhr takes part in a number of major exhibitions in Germany, Europe, and overseas, and paintings by him are represented in 1968 in the worldwide travelling exhibition “50 Jahre Bauhaus”. Posthumous solo and collective exhibitions follow. Works by him are also located in major national and international museums and private collections. Photographs by the artist were acquired, inter alia, by the collections of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Paul Getty Museum (USA).