ARTISTS / Art after 1945
HAP Grieshaber

Available works
HAP Grieshaber
1909born in Rot an der Rot
1926-28apprenticeship as typesetter in Reutlingen and studies of commercial art at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Stuttgart
1931-33Stays in London, Egypt and Greece
1933Building of a studio on the Achalm
1940-46Conscription to the Wehrmacht and war captivity
1950Co-founder of the German Artists' Association
1951Art Prize Young West of the City of Recklinghausen
1951-53Lecturer at the Bernstein School in Sulz am Neckar
1955/59Participation in documenta I and II in Kassel
1955-60Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe
1956Appointment to the German Art Council and the Academy of Arts, Berlin
1957Upper Swabian Art Prize
1962/64Participation in the XXXI Venice Biennale and in documenta III in Kassel
1981died on the Achalm near Reutlingen
With his work, HAP (Helmut Andreas Paul) Grieshaber liberated the woodcut from its servile function as a means of reproduction in order to lead it - especially in the large-format hand prints - to an artistic independence that equals the panel painting. Thus, as the most important and influential innovator of the woodcut in the 20th century, he combines the woodcut technique known since the Middle Ages and rediscovered by the Expressionists with a modern pictorial and formal language. The trained typesetter and graphic artist acquired the skills of a woodcarver primarily through self-tuition. Grieshaber worked the woodblocks into relief with mallets, stabbing bags, drills, saws, and the flex. The intensity and power of the prints subsequently allow the viewer to still feel the massive mass and physical exertion in dealing with the material wood. But also formally Grieshaber has left behind an unmistakable work with the interplay of archaic forms and original natural feeling. By consistently adhering to the supra-temporal theme of the human figure, he advanced to become the father figure of the "New Figuration".
Triggers for Grieshaber's pictorial inventions were personal experiences, as well as the consternation before experienced contemporary events. His woodcuts address the relationship between man and nature, basic human hopes, desires and fears from his own experience and feelings. Nikolai B. Forstbauer, among others, differentiates the many-sided aspects of his artistic personality and the simultaneously emerging threads of reception: the "homme engagé," "the spokesman for the workshop idea, the pioneer of a unity of art and life, the great artist with Documenta honors, the bridge builder between East and West Germany, the teacher, the instigator. And Manfred Schneckenburger celebrates Grieshaber as a European artist "who never let the dialogue break off, especially with Paris - and in his respective first formal steps in wood, on paper, nevertheless relied on an old German reduction of hard outline forms." 
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