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 Adolf Reich  (1887 - 1963)

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Lived/Active: Austria      Known for: portrait and genre painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Adolf Reich (1887-1963)

Adolf Reich was born in Vienna in 1887, and died in Salzburg in 1963.  Primarily self-taught, his genre-art is considered some of the finest from this period.  Reich’s passion was to capture the everyday, the ordinary, and the unimportant moments in life. His attention to detail and his skill in making the most mundane items perfect in breathtaking.  To many of his time, however, such life-like renderings were looked down upon and even ridiculed and mocked.  Looking at a Reich painting, one will not glean a deep, metaphysical understanding of the soul, but rather a quiet peace that transcends artistic affectation.

From the information gathered in three articles published in Kunst ins Volk, his obituary, the program from his memorial exhibit at the Miralbell Castle Gallery in 1965, and interviews with people who actually sat for portraits with Onkel Patzer, it can be concluded that he became a quiet, thoughtful, and generous man after surviving a wild youth, somewhat arrogant adulthood, and the ravages of WWII.

Reich and his wife moved from Vienna to Munich in 1926 to escape the financial ruin of Austria.  It was there that he began work for the Nazis creating folk postcards and propaganda art; several of his works were displayed in Hitler’s Great German Museum. (Despite many rumors, there is no evidence that Reich ever painted a portrait of Hitler.)  In the course of this time, his house and studio were bombed, and at the end of the war he was imprisoned  at Camp Marcus W. Orr, also known as Glazenbach, outside of Salzburg, Austria, with hundreds of high-ranking Nazi officers.  As told by a soldier stationed at the camp, Reich was ordered to paint portraits of American officers and their wives, which continued until at least 1949.  Upon release, he lived in Salzburg.  He lost his wife in 1953, and due to his involvement with the Nazis was never allowed to pursue his dream of teaching art.  He spent the remainder of his days quietly working in his studio until his death.

*Adolf is often incorrectly associated with the works of his contemporary Albert Reich, who created extremely sympathetic art for the Nazi party, as well as illustrations for many adult erotic publications.  Adolf signed all of his work from the earliest known pieces with the “A” and the “R” conjoined.

Information courtesy of Steven Todd Miller and alabamaharpist.com/alabamaharpist/Adolf_Reich

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