1896 Born Karl Goldberg in Reichenbach, in the Vogtland, Germany. His father, a teacher and organist, is also a draftsman. Karl starts drawing from an early age and is very proud of being the best in his class. At 14, he makes portraits of most of his schoolmates.
1911 -1913 Grueling apprenticeship with a stonecutter. Studied sculpture and casting at the Dresden (Germany) school of decorative arts. The artist works on wood sculptures. He is also a stage actor. 1913-1914: Six-month stay in London where he joins his brother, a student.
1914 -1918 Drafted in the German army. On the front, in Verdun, he continues drawing. What remains from this period is a drawing of a ruined church surrounded with a few lonely trees where his personality surfaces, under the influence of Caspar David Friedrich. Wounded and gassed, he is discharged in 1918.
1919 -1921 Studies painting at the fine arts academy in Berlin with the Expressionist painter and scenographer César Klein, founder of the "November gruppe". 1921 : Starts signing some of his work Godeg, mostly portraits as well as landscapes in the line of early-20th century German Expressionism. He also starts to teach painting.
1926 Marries Thekla, an actress met at the theatre, who would be his partner until the end and who posed for numerous portraits. Their marriage would be childless. She is also the author of a book illustrated by a well-known German artist, Käthe Kollwitz. The rise of Nazism prevents its publication. Since they have other sources of income and modest needs, Thekla does not encourage him to show his work. 1930-1940: Under the leaden cloak of Nazism, his landscapes becomes more conventional, still very well executed but less personal than his portraits and self-portraits, which still evince great psychological authenticity. Godeg is still a teacher. The couple lives in Berlin and in the nearby countryside.
– Goldbilder, texte de Seep Hiekisch-Picard (Alain Margaron Editeur), 2003
– « L’Alchimie de la lumière », textes de Jean-Jacques Aillagon, Fred Deux, Seep Hickisch-Picard, (Edition, L’Atelier des Brisants), 2005
– « Karl Godeg 1957-1963″, textes de Jean-Jacques Aillagon et Alain Margaron, (Alain Margaron Editeur), 2012
Musée du XXème siècle, Berlin
Musée municipal de Mönchengladbach, Allemagne
Karl Godeg’s golden paintings are highly spiritual. Godeg uses gold, like other contemporary painters, but in a very personal fashion. After discovering Surrealism after World War II, the painter learned to capture invisible forces, some dictated by his subconscious, others external.
His rigorous questioning of pictorial techniques as well as of the lights and colors of the sky, earth and minerals, endow his work with an abstract, metaphysical power. The paintings shown here are certainly the high point of a body of work that must be considered a major, original contribution to Lyrical Abstraction. Karl Godeg is represented by the Alain Margaron gallery since 2000.