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 Richard Franz Kollorsz  (1900 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: California / Germany      Known for: land-cityscape, scene painter

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Ad Code: 4
Richard Franz Kollorsz
An example of work by Richard Franz Kollorsz
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Richard Franz Kollorsz was born on April 2, 1900, in the county of Ruckers, near Breslau, in German Silesia. His brother and his father were both painters. He studied at the Classical Gymnasium in Ruckers, and attended the Art Academy in Breslau. After World War I, he attended the Kunstakademie in Dresden for seven years and while there obtained first hand knowledge of traditional painting techniques and was influenced by the New Realism movement. He traveled to Rome on a scholarship and returned to Dresden where he entered the master class of Otto Dix, one of Germany's most important twentieth century painters and the leader of the New Realism movement. Kollorsz later directed this master class himself.

In 1929, Kollorsz emigrated to the United States on the Hamburg-America Steamship Line, disembarking to Los Angeles, California about mid year. Shortly afterwards he began his life-long association with Hollywood; he became a protege and a close friend of Josef Von Sternberg, who directed all of Marlene Dietrich's classic films of the late 1920's and 1930's. Kollorsz eventually assumed control of all Von Sternberg - Dietrich American produced set designs. Josef Von Sternberg was the Hollywood director of the period, and his art collection, since dispersed at auction, ranked among the most important collections of modern European art in the Los Angeles area. Kollorsz was heavily represented in Von Sternberg's collection.

Kollorsz was a dynamic personality who aggressively protected his privacy by avoiding the local art community and rarely exhibited his artwork. Although he worked with David Alfaro Siqueiros on the Olivera Street mural in 1932, and exerted efforts along with Von Sternberg to help bring Siqueiros and his art to the attention of Los Angelenos, Kollorsz himself remains little known. Few examples of his work survive. He died on May 31, 1983.

Artists Fiesta, Los Angeles, 1931
Art Institute of Chicago, 1934

Carolina Galleries

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born near Breslau, Germany on April 2, 1900. Kollorsz studied at the Breslau Art Academy and at the Kunstakademie in Dresden for seven years. As a budding young artist, he was most influenced by Otto Dix, leader of Germany’s “New Realism” movement. Kollorsz immigrated to Los Angeles in 1929. He worked on the Olvera Street mural with David A. Siqueiros in 1932 and as a scene painter for the movie studios for many years. He was a set designer and protége of director Josef von Sternberg who directed all of Marlene Dietrich’s films and was a major collector of modern European works in which Kollorsz was well represented. Kollorsz was a very private person who avoided the art community and rarely exhibited. He died at his home in Los Angeles on May 31, 1983. Few examples of his work survive. Exh: Painters & Sculptors of LA, 1931-35; Artists Fiesta (LA), 1931; Plaza Art Center (LA), 1932; Rose Gallery (Hollywood), 1935; Foundation of Western Art (LA), 1936; LACMA, 1943.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Death record.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Papillon Gallery:
Richard Kollorsz was born near Breslau, Germany in 1900. His father and his brother Franz were artists.

Kollorsz studied at the Academy of Art in Breslau, and after World War I he attended the Kunstakademie in Dresden; where he stayed for seven years.

The German academies of this period taught traditional techniques, but the young artist was also exposed to the “New Realism” in German painting. He won a scholarship to study in Rome, and after a period of study and exploration he returned to Dresden.

The turning point in his education came when he entered the master class of Otto Dix, one of the most important proponents of the new direction in German Realism. Kollorsz was well received by Dix and later directed his master class.

Kollorsz, in 1929, traveled to the United States, where he was to begin a long career as an art director in Hollywood movies. He became acquainted with and then became a protégé of Josef Von Sternberg, a successful film director who directed Marlene Dietrich in many films in the 1920s and 1930s. Kollorsz became Von Sternberg’s principal set director.

Von Sternberg was an avid art collector; no doubt Kollorsz had significant input in his collecting. Among Von Sternberg’s collection were several works by Kollorsz.

From the time Kollorsz arrived in Los Angeles and pursued his career in films, he did not often exhibit his paintings. By choice he was not involved in the artistic community of Los Angeles. In 1932 he worked with Mexican muralist Siquerios on a mural on Olivera Street, and with his friends in the film industry he helped Siquerios come to the attention of the Los Angeles community.

Also in 1932 he loaned his painting, “Street Musicians”, to an exhibition at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. In the early 1930s Von Sternberg sponsored an exhibition at the Plaza Art Center on Olivera Street in Los Angeles, the exhibit was to call attention to the work of Kollorsz and Peter Ballbusch.

The early paintings of Kollorsz employed a technique not often seen in paintings created in the United States, he used oil glaze over tempera, a time consuming process. The method is rooted in a tradition of German paintings of Holbein and Durer. This technique lent itself to extraordinary realism, rich colors, and exquisite detail. The subjects of his early paintings show the strong influence of Otto Dix, and they express the desperation of the German Realists.

Though Kollorsz did not exhibit, he continued to paint for many years; his early style of German Realism gave way a more Postimpressionist method. His subjects remained the human form and human condition, but lighter and more cheerful. He also painted many watercolors of the beaches, of workers, cityscapes, and nudes, typical of his generation of American Scene painters.

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