Plan your visit
  • From: 16 june 2018
  • Through: 02 september 2018
  • Location: Museum de Fundatie, Kasteel Het Nijenhuis


The work of German artist Fritz Klemm (1902-1990) is extraordinarily powerful, tranquil, and poetic in the way it dialogues with and relates to the objects and spaces in the artist’s world. The factors that make Klemm’s work and artistic practice so unique are the synergy with his experience, his special, selective way of looking at the world, and his quest for the ideal balance.

Most of the Fritz Klemm exhibition will be located at Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle. Thirteen further works by Klemm will be on show at Kasteel het Nijenhuis.

Fritz Klemm, Wall, gouache, chalk on paper, 99 x 69 cm, private collection. 

This exhibition will trace every phase of Fritz Klemm’s career, beginning with his earliest works of the 1950s. Klemm was then a professor at the art academy in Karlsruhe, where he also had his studio. In dialogue with the principles of the German and European modern art of his day, he created a unique oeuvre that cannot be classified under any of the major movements of the time (Zero, American Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, etc). The subjects of his pictures were drawn from his immediate working environment. His easel, painting table and palette were all favourite motifs, but so were the walls, floor and windows of his studio. The artist reduced these everyday motifs to extraordinarily powerful emblems which become important elements in his compositions.

Fritz Klemm, Wall, 1989, Indian ink, white chalk, cardboard and paper collage, 118 x 89 cm, private collection. 

Portrait of Fritz Klemm, 1976. Photographer © Barbara Klemm. 

Fritz Klemm used a variety of techniques and media, experimenting with tempera, gouache, Caparol household paint, felt tips and chalk. Just as he applied and modelled his paint in countless layers, so he explored the same motifs time and again. In the course of his career, he occasionally changed his vantage point and location. In 1954, for example, he moved to a different studio with a view of the Hardtwald forest, where he painted pictures of windows with woodland motifs. In 1968 he moved to his third studio, in Scheibenhardt castle, where his palette became lighter. His late paintings are less and less figurative, leaving the expressive power of his materials to stand virtually alone. The creation of collages was a logical next step. In old age, Fritz Klemm came to be revered as a major representative of German ‘Post-Minimalism’. It was not until 1973 – when the artist was 70 – that he had his first solo exhibition. This was followed in 1976 by his first retrospective, at the Ulmer Museum, and in 1985 by his second, at the Badische Kunstverein in Karlsruhe. Fritz Klemm did not live to see the major anniversary exhibitions in 1992 and 2000 that eventually brought him international fame.

Fritz Klemm, Window with Drawing Board, c. 1964-1966, watercolour and Indian ink on paper, 50 x 63 cm, private collection.

The exhibition Fritz Klemm – Paintings and works on paper is being held in collaboration with Kunstmuseum Ahlen and Leonhardi-Museum Dresden. A bilingual (German/Dutch) catalogue has been issued by publishers Waanders & de Kunst.

Fritz Klemm, Painting Table, c. 1959, Caparol, paper collage on hardboard, 87 x 120 cm, private collection, on loan from Museum Wiesbaden.

  • From: 16 Jun 2018
  • Through: 02 Sep 2018
  • Location: Museum de Fundatie