A Swiss outsider art collection welcomes you


Aconcha Santz


Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern was born September 11, 1892 at Kaukehmen near Tilsit as Emil Friedrich Schröder and died May 10, 1982 in Berlin. He is considered as one one of the most important representatives of the Art Brut or Outsider Art. Friedrich Schröder was one of 13 children, of which two died directly after their birth. His early life was characterized by stays in educational and mental institutions, the latter because of alleged youth discomfort (dementia praecox), which finally led to his incapacitation. When he fled to Berlin in 1919, he was occupied with occultism, divination, and curative magnetism. He founded a sect and distributed his income in the form of bread rolls to children, which gave him the title "Schrippenfürst von Schöneberg" [1] In 1933, Sonnenstern – the name he had given himself around 1928 (Eliot Gnas von Sonnenstern) – was instructed in the Provinzial Irren- und Heilanstalt Neustadt in Schleswig-Holstein, where he became acquainted with Hans Ralf's an artist who inspired him to draw the first pictures. After the dismissal, a three-year prison term followed, followed by the short-term service in the Luftwaffe depot and the deportation to the Arbeitsmoor Himmelmoor at Quickborn. In 1942 he managed to escape to Berlin. In the most difficult circumstances he survived the last years of the Second World War and began to draw intensively from 1949 onwards. The surrealism exposure in Paris in 1959 celebrated him as the most impressive artist of the 20th century, with internationally spectacular exhibitions followed. From the beginning of the 1970s Schröder-Sonnenstern was one of the artists 'groups of Berlin's painters' poets. He did not follow the orders anymore, had his pictures painted out by his assistants and carried out details, fine work and corrections by hand – until the assistants, partly inspired and commissioned by gallery owners and dealers, copied, painted, sold Schröder-Sonnensterns motifs on predesigned cartons and ultimately degraded him to the victim of counterfeit cliques. When this became known, the art market dropped him down consistently. Serious gallery owners and collectors turned away from him, he completely withdrew and died, almost forgotten and impoverished, in 1982 in Berlin.