As the days are getting shorter and darker, and will at some point probably get colder as well, I remember fondly this past summer, when I had the chance to discover the vastness and diversity of the Grunewald, the largest city forest in Berlin, with Dr. Gudrun Rademacher, the long term director of the Forest Museum Grunewald.
Within minutes Fritz Ascher was there, and he often walked for hours, usually in the early mornings or late at night. He documents in his art what he sees: heavy-trunked trees stand in open landscape, shaken by the wind, deep in leaf, or winterly bare. Dr. Rademacher discovered gouaches of the Forest Museum, the Hunting Castle with its signature orange roof, and the Bauhaus buildings of Onkel-Toms-Hütte at the south border of the Grunewald. It was a little spooky to discover Germany’s only “suicide cemetery”, a small cemetery that is hidden deep in the Grunewald. Those who had committed suicide and were not allowed to be buried elsewhere found their last home here since 1897, many of them had drowned in the nearby Havel river. Fritz Ascher memorizes them with their simple wooden crosses. But he mostly paints landscapes. There is a bright yellow depicting the sun, the deep green of the meadows, the colorful glow of a hill, a reflection of the agitated sky in water, and the forest painted in luminous red: each landscape is a paradox in which impassioned structures cause a feeling of extreme harmony. These paintings are soul paintings that reflect Ascher’s complex emotional life.
OPENING OF THE CENTER FOR PERSECUTED ARTS
On December 8, 2015 the Center for Persecuted Arts at the Art Museum Solingen opened in presence of Bundestagspräsident Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, and many other dignitaries. The opening exhibitions will be on view until January 24, 2016: “Poland – Israel – Germany. The experience of Auschwitz today”, the multi media exhibition “Women in the Holocaust” from Yad Vashem in Israel, and the original drawings of Michael Kicha’s touching graphic novel “Second Generation”. The international Fritz Ascher traveling exhibition will open at the Center for Persecuted Arts in June 2016. https://www.facebook.com/Zentrum-für-verfolgte-Künste-469243703237973/
The exhibition “‘Making Amends’ Compensations and Restitutions in a Divided Berlin” is on view until January 14, 2016 at the Gedenkstätte deutscher Widerstand, Berlin. Fritz Ascher’s story is one of 27 individual cases that vividly present diverse groups of victims and restitution procedures in Berlin West and East. Especially in Berlin, where during the Cold War two completely different concepts of restitution existed side-by-side, their political framework and its consequences for the restitution procedures can be demonstrated like nowhere else. http://www.gdw-berlin.de/nc/de/angebote/ausstellungen/ausstellung/view-aus/verfahren-wiedergutmachung-im-geteilten-berlin/
Please do not forget the Fritz Ascher Society in your year-end-giving. Thank you!
With our best wishes for a healthy, successful and peaceful 2016,
Rachel Stern, Ori Z. Soltes, Steven Orlikoff
Copyright © 2014, Rachel Stern and Fritz Ascher Society, All rights reserved.
Image: Fritz Ascher “Landscape” ca 1960
Our mailing address is:
121 Bennett Ave, Suite 12A, NY, NY 10033