Erich Engelbrecht – Biographie

BIOGRAPHY

1928 – 2011

1928
Born on 27th October in Bielefeld, Germany.
1944-45
From January 1944 until the end of the war, air force helper with light anti-aircraft guns.
1949-54
Studies at the Technische Hochschule in Hanover: electrical engineering, production engineering, economics; graduated as Dipl.-Ing.
1954-64
With some interruptions freelance industrial consultant in the paper-processing industry: automation projects (e. g. installation of the first German automatic bookbinding line for the company Dohse & Sohn in Bielefeld).
1957
Doctorate (Dr.-Ing.).
1958-60
Second study of philosophy and art history at the Munich University. In the seminar of Professor Hans Sedlmayr, encounter with the philosophy student Waltraud Schmidt, born 1937 in Nuremberg. Acquaintance with the depth psychologist Rolf Thiede, who introduces him to the thoughts of C. G. Jung and to Chinese philosophy (Laotse, Tao, I-Ging).
1959
Marries Waltraud Schmidt, who becomes the most important companion and supporter of his art. Four daughters.
1960
Key experience on the train from Munich to Bielefeld: visions of strongly coloured pictures (eidetic pictures) at certain train noises, return of the corresponding picture at the return of a sound. Instantaneous decision: »I’m going to be an artist«. Move to Bielefeld. At first use of found parts (e. g. on scrap yards) for sculptures made of steel and rubber. Shortly thereafter, large-format, intensely colored oil paintings.
1961
Leases a 200-year-old farm in Holterdorf and acquires it two years later. Studio in the attic.
1962
Simultaneous work as artist and engineer: During this time the first oil paintings, some of them very large, were created on canvas or wooden panels. Design and realization of an automatic bookbinding line for Bertelsmann Verlag in Gütersloh. Further oil paintings and large-format colored wooden-boards sculptures are created.
1961-64
Winter stays in a second rented studio in the old town of Locarno (Switzerland). Spiritual exchange with writers (Walter Mehring) and artists (Julius Bissier).
1963
Out of the Eater Came Forth Meat and Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness, the largest colored oil painting by the artist (height 355 cm, width 460 cm). 1963/64 The first series of wooden figures (oil on plywood) that float freely in front of the wall and create special light and shadow effects.
1965
Settles down in Holterdorf. Establishment of a gobelin workshop with the support of Hans-Jürgen Vogt, following a proposal from his wife to discover and use this working method. A second series of wooden figures.
1966
First gobelins. Construction of a loom with a maximum working of 360 cm. Coloured yarns according to BASF’s own statements. First weaver: Waltraud Engelbrecht.
1967
Development of new gobelin-weaving techniques. Lets build the first machine equipped with these techniques.
1968
Development of another machine for the gobelin weaving. Further gobelins.
1969
Establishment of a yarn dyeing workshop, producing light-fast yarns for their own gobelins. First graphic works: screen prints, lithographs, etchings. First solo exhibition with catalogue at Kunsthalle Bielefeld. First steel sculptures (first period) for outdoor use.
1969
Engages with graphic work, first printing, later lithography and etching. Set up of an adjoining yarn dyeing workshop.
1972-73
Commissioned work for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia: Installation of the colored steel sculpture The Bird and the Son of the Bird in Bielefeld in front of the then new building of the Staatliche Höhere Wirtschaftsfachschule.
1976
Large coloured ceramic wall sculptures.
1981-82
Painting on the gable and figures on the timber framing on his own house in Holterdorf. Cooperation with landscape architects Schmidt + Stahr on several projects and competitions. Design of a playhouse for children.
1982-84
Architecture project: Design and implementation of a house in Werther (Westf.) in the Teutoburg Forest.
1984
First smaller steel sculptures for the interior and larger ones around his home. First wooden sculptures from marine plywood. First steel sculptures (second period) for outdoor use. Set up in the grounds around his own house. Two Dancing Berserkers at access to the house.
1987
Solo exhibition with catalogue at the Gallery Bernheim-Jeune in Paris.
1987-93
Small table sculptures and pieces of jewellery made of precious metal (silver, gold), brooches, chains and ear pendants.
1996 According to a purchase contract from 1992, the steel sculpture The Lesson, I, is erected in the municipality of Melle-Neuenkirchen. Solo exhibition in Osnabrück.
1997
Installation of the Two Dancing Berserkers in Hamburg at the »Altonaer Balkon«, before they find their way to the sculpture park in France in 2006.
1998
Beginning of the last great creative period: Concentration on the monumental, partly coloured sculptures for outdoor use. Search for a suitable site for a sculpture park.
2001
Acquisition of the Château des Fougis near Thionne.
2001-11
With his son-in-law João de Abreu Vares as architectural consultant the artist sets up the Sculpture parc Erich Engelbrecht on the grounds of the Château des Fougis. The sculpture park is included in the official list of Auvergne sights.
2004-10
Installation of an exhibition of earlier works by Engelbrecht from the collection of his wife in the galleries and salons of the château.
2011
Erich Engelbrecht dies on 22nd July in a hospital in Vichy. His urn is buried in the park of the Château des Fougis.