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Altenbogge, Germany 1905 -Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany 1976
Fritz Winter was born as the first of eight children in Altenbögge near Unna on 22 September 1905. In 1919 he began an apprenticeship as an electrician and worked as a miner. At the beginning of the 1920s, he made his first attempts in drawing and painting.
In 1927 he applied successfully to the Bauhaus *in Dessau, where he studied for three years under Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer. In 1929 Winter participated in the exhibition "Junge Bauhausmaler". He became acquainted with Ernst Ludwig and Erna Kirchner, whom he visited repeatedly in Davos, Switzerland. After his studies, Winter taught at the Pädagogische Akademie in Halle.
In 1933 he moved to Munich, and in 1935 to Dieben on the Ammersee in Bayern, Germany. The National Socialists declared his art "degenerate"* and banned him from exhibiting his works. Fritz Winter was drafted in 1939 and sent to the eastern front. He was captured by the Russians shortly before the end of the war and not released until 1949.
During the war, he drew the so-called "Feldskizzen" in small sketchbooks, which prepared his famous series "Triebkräfte der Erde".? Immediately after his return Fritz Winter was co-founder of the group "Zen 49" and soon joined the European avant-garde* movement.
Elaborating his works of the 1930s, which were made under the influence of the Bauhaus, Winter developed his own pictorial* language, which set him apart from the Informel.
In 1955, Winter began teaching at the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg, and two years later, he was appointed professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Kassel. In the same year, and again in 1959, he exhibited at "Documenta" I and II*.
Winter received numerous prizes, e.g. the Cornelius-prize of the city of Düsseldorf in 1956, the International Graphics prize Tokyo in 1957 as well as the prize of the International building exhibition Berlin and the prize of the World Fair in Brussels in 1958.
In 1959 he fell ill as an after-effect of his war injuries. On the occasion of his 60th birthday, the artist was honoured with large retrospectives in several German cities. He received the "Grobes Bundesverdienstkreuz" in 1969. He retired from his chair in Kassel in 1970 and returned to Diessen on the Ammersee. A Fritz-Winter-House was opened in Ahlen in 1975.
Fritz Winter died on 1 October 1976 at Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany. Even before his death Winter was considered one of the more famous German post-war artists.
"Fritz Winter", Art Directory, www.fritz-winter.com (Accessed 5/15/2013)
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