* 23. November 1905 in Augsburg; † 22. Mai 1971 in Frankfurt/ Main
German painter and graphic artist
Karl Kunz has a special place in the 20th century’s Modern Art. In the thirties and forties, falling back on surreal elements, his artistic work deals with the menace of war. After 1945 he creates an expressive-manneristic world of imagery, marked by strong symbolism and dealing with the subjects of Eros, sin, and death. Kunz, son of a carpenter, is given drawing lessons at the age of 14. In 1921, he goes to Munich and attends the art school of Hans Hofmann, who, being influenced by the French Modern Art, later becomes one of the fathers of abstract art in the USA. From 1927 on, the young painter lives in Berlin. With the help of the painter Hermann Sandkuhl, organizer of the “Juryfreien Kunstschau”, he is represented there in 1928 and 1929 with his works. In 1930 Kunz is assistant and master-class student of Erwin Hahs, then head of the painting class at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle/Saale. About 1932 he creates material pictures of abstract, organic forms and wood objects. In 1933 he is dismissed by the National Socialists, is no longer permitted to paint, and returns to Augsburg. Here he paints secretly.
As a medic orderly in Augsburg, he goes through the bomb attack on the town in 1944, where most of his works are also destroyed. After the war he takes part in the artistic revival. He is represented in the large exhibitions of modern art, as 1946 in Dresden and 1954 at the Venice Biennale. Occasionally he holds a teaching post for painting. In 2015/16 the artwork „Germany Awake“ is shown in the exhibition „The Black Years“ at Hamburger Bahnhof, museum of contemporary art in Berlin.