Wols

  • Born 1913 in Berlin, Germany
  • Died 1951 in Paris, France
A key figure of the tachisme movement, Wols (born Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze) left his parent’s home in Dresden to pursue art at age seventeen. Following a photography apprenticeship in 1930 at the Reimann-Schule (Reimann School) in Berlin, he moved to Paris in 1932 at the recommendation of László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946). Acquainted with leaders of the Parisian art scene such as Fernand Léger (1881–1955), Amédée Ozenfant (1886–1966), and Hans Arp (1886–1966), Wols expanded his creative output in painting, writing, music, and photography during the 1930s. In 1937, he was commissioned to photograph the World’s Fair in Paris. At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Wols was sent to an internment camp near Aix-en-Provence. In 1940 he fled to Cassis, where he began creating drawings and watercolors. With an increasing interest in abstraction, Wols gradually shifted his focus from the line to the interplay between color fields and to the dripping of paint. Art critic Michel Tapié would coin the term “art autre” (other art) to describe the oil paintings that Wols began in 1946. Wols held his first exhibition at Galerie René Drouin in 1945; his second exhibition at the gallery two years later earned him widespread acclaim. His work was shown posthumously in the first three editions of Documenta, Kassel (1955; 1959; 1964).