German artist and former CoBrA member Karl Otto Götz passed away

News Release September 7

  • On 19 August the German artist and former CoBrA member Karl Otto Götz passed away.

Karl Otto Götz (Aachen, 1914 – Wolfenacker, 2017) was an abstract, expressionist and surrealist artist, and one of the most influential figures in the post-war German art world. Deeply inspired by the works of Max Ernst and Paul Klee amongst others, he began his education at the art academy in 1932. The work he produced at this time was very avant-gardistic and he experimented with a variety of media. During the nazi regime he couldn’t exhibit or sell his expressionist and surrealist work and was thus forced to earn a living through making landscape paintings.

Karl Otto Götz, hier in 1949 together with photographer Henny Riemens, friend of Corneille

After the war he was yet again able to exhibit his artistic work openly. His shows became a great success, and he quickly made a name for himself as one of the pioneers of new art in Germany. As editor of the experimental art- and poetry magazine Meta he also came in contact with the CoBrA-group. Götz became the first German member of CoBrA and in 1950 was the editor-in-chief of CoBrA Magazine 5, which was primarily dedicated to modern German art.

Cover of Cobra Magazine #5


In 1949 Götz was part of the first CoBrA exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. During his stay in the Netherlands he made the beautiful, personal photobook ‘Hollandreise’ which is part of the Cobra Museum collection. It depicts the great international friendship between the young artists in a free and direct way .

Cover of the Karl Otto Götz photojournal

In 1952 he formed the Frankfurt QUADRIGA with three other artists, an artist’s group which played a major role in introducing Tachism in Germany. Starting in 1959, he also taught as a professor for 20 years at the arts academy in Düsseldorf, where he was the teacher of several well-known contemporary artists. During his entire life Götz continued to make art and reinvent himself, even after turning blind towards the end of his life.

Götz passed away at age 103.

Karl Otto Götz Composition 1965. Ink on paper. Collection Cobra Museum, longterm loan from Karel van Stuijvenberg, Caracas

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