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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

Biography from Auctionata:
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 was born in Vienna, Austria in 1887. After his apprenticeship as an engraver he worked as the scene painter for the German popular theatre for a total of seven years.  In the years between 1916 and 1926 he frequently participated in the annual exhibition of the Vienna Künstlerhaus.  As off 1927 he was president of the newly founded artist group “Wiener Heimatkunst” (“Viennese Local Art”).

In 1935 he moved to Munich.  After World War II Adolf Reich moved to Salzburg.  His works can be found in numerous private and public collections, such as for example the German Historical Museum in Berlin.

The Hotel Bogota at Schlüterstrasse 45, around the corner from the Kurfürstendamm, was founded in 1964 by Heinz Rehwald, a Jewish emigrant, who had fled to Colombia during the Nazi regime and named the hotel after the capital city of his adoptive country. He chose a house built in 1911/12, which used to be a residential and commercial building attracting illustrious residents in the 1920s and 30s.  One of them was the entrepreneur and collector Oskar Skaller, whose walls were hung with works by Renoir, Van Gogh and Liebermann. The well-known fashion photographer Yva occupied the fourth and fifth floor with her husband.  From 1936 onwards Helmut Newton worked as an apprentice and later as an assistant in her studio.  After the expropriation, the house was used by the Reich Chamber of Culture, whose director Hans Hinkel had his office on the second floor.  After the war the British used the facilities at Schlüterstraße 45. In 1976 the Rissmann family took over the hotel with a total of 123 rooms and eventually made it to a forum for photography, with temporary exhibitions.  The hotel used to be a famous institution in Berlin.  It was used as a location for numerous film and photo shoots.  Among the prominent guests were regulars such as the renowned Magnum photographer René Burri and the British actor Rupert Everett, who was incidentally the name giver for one of the rooms. In 2013 the Bogota was forced to close its doors. What remains is the furniture, paintings and memorabilia telling the story of this unique hotel steeped in history.

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