* 16 May 1904 in Beuthen (Upper Silesia); † 4 May 1975 in Berlin
German painter and graphic artist
After 1945 Horst Strempel is considered an outstanding artist all over Germany. This esteem is i.a. explained by his triptych “Night over Germany”, which is shown in 1946 at the exhibition “Masterpieces of German Sculpture and Painting” at the Berlin Zeughaus.
From 1923 to 1927, Strempel studies at the Breslau art academy with Otto Mueller and Oskar Moll. Later he continues his studies in Berlin with Karl Hofer. He joins the German Communist Party and becomes involved in the German Association of Revolutionary Artists (ASSO). Mid-1933 he emigrates to Paris. In 1941 the Vichy regime hands him over to the German secret state police Gestapo. After his military service in a penal company he returns to Berlin in June 1945 and works as a freelance painter. In 1946 he takes part in the first Allgemeinen Deutschen Art Exhibition in Dresden. Strempel joins the Socialist Unity Party of Germany and teaches from 1947 to 1953 at the college of applied arts in Berlin-Weißensee, where he is given a professorship in 1949. In 1950 he moves from West Berlin to East Berlin. During the debate on formalism, the murals and mural drafts he had created after 1948 are criticized and destroyed. In 1953, the college lecturer is accused of “undermining the socialist educational work”, whereupon he flees with his family to West Berlin. In the years that follow his artistic work almost comes to a halt, as he has to earn a living by all kinds of work, and to fight for his recognition as a political refugee.
Works by the artist are to be found at the Nationalgalerie, the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin, at the Märkisches Museum, and the Berlinische Galerie.