“Those who care to look have been rewarded with some of the most beautiful paintings of our time.” Art historian & curator John McPhee on Gunter Christmann’s work, 2006
Groundbreaking and subversive artist Gunter Christmann was born in Germany in 1936, emigrating to Australia in 1959. He moved to Sydney in 1962, where he lived until his death in 2013. The following year, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, staged Gunter Christmann: Now and Then, a comprehensive survey exhibition that included examples of his early ‘sprankle’ paintings alongside geometric, shuffle box, silhouette, detritus and graffiti works, as well as self portraits and observational paintings based on city scenes. Christmann worked closely with curator Lesley Harding on the exhibition for two years prior to his death and Now and Then captured the incredible contribution the artist made, with the breadth of styles represented as well as the importance of his wife Jenny Christmann to his life and career.
Gunter Christmann’s work continually evolved throughout his career – from his early geometric work, to his ‘sprankle’ paintings, covered with infinitesimal dots, to his later, more figurative paintings. The artist noted that although his later work seemed quite different to his early paintings, it changed “only little by little each year”. Common to all of his work was Christmann’s ability to reflect universal truths through his own life, finding subjects in his surroundings, embracing natural formations and the element of chance.
Gunter Christmann’s paintings are held in all major public galleries within Australia, as well as in collections in Germany, Yugoslavia, New Zealand, The Netherlands and the USA.