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Heinz Trökes

Biographies
Heinz Trökes

*  1913 Hamborn bei Duisburg
† 1997 Berlin


He was born on August 15, 1913, in Hamborn am Rhein. Trökes was a student of Johannes Itten in Krefeld until 1936. Trökes next lived in Augsburg as a professional painter and earned his living designing textiles. He met Kandinsky on a trip to Paris in 1937. His first solo exhibition was in the Nierendorf Gallery in Berlin in 1938. The exhibit was closed by the Nazis and led to his expulsion from the Reich's Chamber of Cutlure and a ban on exhibiting his work. Thereafter Trökes settled in Zurich, intending to emigrate to Dutch East India. The outbreak of the war canceled his plans and he returned to Germany. He began studying under Georg Muche in Krefeld in 1940 but couldn't continue, because he was drafted as a soldier for the air defense and sent to Berlin. After the war, Trökes founded the Gerd Rosen Gallery with friends. This was the first private art gallery in Germany after the war, and he acted as artistic director there until 1946. In the years following, he produced many "astronautical pictures." After a one-semester stint as a lecturer at the State College for Architecture and Art in Weimar, Trökes went back to Berlin, where he had several important solo exhibitions and took part in others concerning German art. Staying for several months in Paris in 1950, he befriended Wols and Paul Celan and joined the Rixes group around Matta, Serpan, Riopelle, and Zanartu. At the same time, he associated regularly with André Breton, Perét, Duchamp, Toyen, and Max Ernst, also in Paris. He emigrated to Ibiza in 1951. There he produced many pictures of the island with a topographical character. In later years, one could always find Trökes' works in all important exhibits dealing with German art after the war. He was honored with prizes many times over and many museums presented solo exhibitions on him. From 1956 until 1958, Trökes directed the department for free drawing at the State College for Visual Art in Hamburg, devoting himself at this time to lithography and engraving. A stay on the Greek island of Aegina reduced his strong penchant for color and the temper of his works became muted. Trökes began teaching at the State Academy for the Visual Arts in Stuttgart in 1962. He was subsequently appointed to a position at the Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1965. He stayed there until 1978. In 1966, he began again using strong colors in his works, combining them with folkloristic elements he had gathered during his many travels all over the world. Then in 1972, he changed his painting style yet again. He produced mainly small format pictures in only two colors. Trökes later experimented with gold, india ink, and enamel. In the 1970's and 1980's, many more noteworthy museums and galleries had solo exhibitions of his works. In Trökes' late works, serene small format work dominate, which once again gather together his experience in drawing and painting and express a certain formal freedom.