* 18 February 1910 in Breslau; † 17 April 1998 in Rummelsberg near Nuremberg
With the aim of becoming an architect, Gerhart Hein serves an apprenticeship as an architectural draughtsman and mason. When he subsequently attends the school of trade and crafts in Breslau, his artistic talent is spotted by Otto Mueller. As a result, Hein becomes a student of the Breslau college of arts and crafts in 1929. Here, he studies under Otto Mueller, Alexander Kanoldt, Oskar Moll, Carlo Mense, Oskar Schlemmer and Johannes Molzahn. When the college is closed in 1932, Hein attends Johannes Molzahn’s master studio. From 1933 to 1939 he lives and works in the Giant Mountains. During the time of National Socialism, a work he had created as a student is assessed as ‘degenerate’, confiscated, and presumably destroyed. In the Second World War, Hein is conscripted into the Wehrmacht. In 1947 he returns from an English prisoner-of-war camp and joins the professional association of free artists in Nuremberg. When he is made redundant as a graphic designer for the US military administration, he works as a masons’ foreman from 1957 to 1973. From 1956 to 1967 he, in addition to his bread-earning job, completely devotes himself to his artistic work. In the mid-1950s, figuration dissolves in Hein’s works. Shapes inspired by Cubism lead up to abstract structures of geometric lines that enclose colour planes. Hein names those structures ‘imaginary substance’.
The artist refuses to exhibit his works when still alive. Thus, an extensive show of his works, planned in 1988 by the Museum Ostdeutsche Galerie in Regensburg, cannot be mounted. After the death of his first wife in 1968, the painter gives up all his artistic activities. From 2006 on, Gerhart Hein’s œuvre is accessible to the public.