BIOGRAPHY/BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

«  An industrialized world needs an industrialized handwriting. »  This credo illuminates Georg Ettl’s artistic language and expression.The artist and philosopher took the content of his art much further. He reflected a world in which the greatest enemy of man is man himself. Yet, it is essential for him to keep this observation neutral without a moralizing or accusing finger. Each individual is responsible for his own life and environment. This tension that Georg Ettl artistically created in his sculptures, and, objects as well as in his architectural art makes his work versatile and exciting.

 Born in 1940 in Nittenau,Germany, Ettl grew up in Bavaria and immigrated to Detroit, Michigan in 1959 where he worked as a toolmaker and technical draftsman. This experience in precision and utmost accuracy was to have a lasting influence in all aspects of his life.                                                                                                                                                                 

Ettl showed and early interest in literature and philosophy and began studies in these subjects first at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1961. Deciding to return to Europe, he continued his studies in Portier, France and finally at the Sorbonne in Paris, France from 1964-1965. On his return to Detroit later that year, he chose to devote himself to fine arts resuming his studies at Wayne State University. Ettl received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966 followed by a Master of Arts in 1967 and Master of Fine Arts in 1972. From 1966 to 1973, he taught Art and Humanities at Wayne State University and Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan.

The confrontation of technical precision and intellectual thought dominated his work until his death. Always the precise observor, there was nothing spontanious in his art. Instead, he approached each artistic objective with thoughtful, soul searching dedication and observation followed by countless drawings and sketches. This method resulted in the best elaboration of ideas and esthetics, culminating in a certain timelessness found in his works. Furthermore, he constantly challenged kitch vs. art often coming close to the edge of the precipice.

Ettl’s first sculptures were part of the Minimalist movement. In 1969 he was invited to participate in the exhibition Other Ideas at the Detroit Institute of Arts next to well established Minimalists like Walter de Maria, Carl André and Dan Flavin. Although the influence of Minimalist art was evident in his works during the 1970's, Ettl took the idea and movement a step farther irritatingly shifting the Minimalist  right angle ever so slightly or combining otherwise diametrically opposing materials such as incorporating feathers or pyrite to formica or plastic surfaces. Thus, Ettl’s work is only based on formal similarities with the Minimalists, since he didn’t share the depersonalized, purist attitude of this art claimed by his colleagues. This often resulted in heated debates, rejections and challenges.

« His irony – which can sometimes rise to sarcasm – recurs throughout his works with light motivic regularity, but, like his tendency to mislead the observer, this too is only a means to and end. » (1)

In 1968, George Ettl married the native Detroiter Dianne Gaspas. Their daughter Renatae was born in 1971.

Having had several solo exhibitions in the United States between 1971 - 1973, he returned to Germany with his wife and daughter in 1973 where they settled in Viersen located in North Rhine-Westphalia. From 1974 to 1990 he worked as an art instructor at the Erasmus of Rotterdam-Gymnasium, formerly known as the Mädchen Gymnasium.

Upon his return to Germany, Ettl undertook a series of works still marked by American Minimalism with particular attention to his own diversions. His artwork is also distinguished by the variety of materials he used, ranging from the most precious (gold-leaf) to the most trivial (concrete).                                                                                   

In 1979 he began a practice that could be called citational or appropriationist with a series of watercolors using images from postcards, illustrations, posters or zoology books. Later, as tribute laced with irony, he copied and slightly modified the Old Masters such as Giotto and Dürer and borrowed from the Etruscan and Byzantine art. In this manner he keept Mondrian's orthogonal organization, but chose to change the colors with his green Mondrian (1991) or simplified a still life of a Caravaggio painting.

Toward the end of the 20th century, he began a series of works gradually integrating the figure using a generic ideal profile. In 1996 he created Atelier Ettl entirely devoted to the production of simple objects at reasonable prices including wooden figurines, wallpaper, pans, tables and other objects inspired by scenes of everyday life.

Architecture also played a fundamental role in Ettl's art whether used as an image in his work or integrating his works within the architecture :

·     his famous fresco entitled "The Horses of Oiron" (1992) commissioned for the Château d'Oiron in Oiron, France,

·      his stained glass windows for the St. Bernard Collegiate of Romans in Romans, France(1997),

·      the interior of "Heilig Geist" church in Neuss, Germany (1992-1999).

The creations listed above were entirely designed and carried out by the artist who sought to restore the lost links between artist and architect encouraging a dialogue between history and historic forms. In recognition of his artistic accomplishments in 2002, France honored Georg Ettl with the "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres".

After a long illness, Ettl died on November 3, 2014. His urn is buried in the family plot at the parish cemetery in Viechtach, Germany (Bavarian Forest).

 

(1) Dr. Johannes Cladders, GEORG ETTL, ARBEITEN/WORKS 1968-1989, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 1990.

 

 

 SOLO EXHIBITIONS (selection) 

 

  • 1971 Franklin Siden Gallery, Detroit
  • 1972 Willis Gallery, Detroit
  • 1973 Sill Gallery, eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanty, Michigan
  • 1976 Galerie december, Düsseldorf
  • 1977 Städtisches Museum Mönchengladbach
  • 1979 Galerie Konrad Fischer, Düsseldorf
  • 1982 Feigenson Gallery, Detroit
  • 1983 Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld
  • 1986 Galerie Dacic, Tübingen, also in the years 1988 und 1993
  • 1987 Städtische Galerie im Cordonhaus, Cham/Oberpfalz
  • 1987 Museum Schloss Hardenberg, Velbert
  • 1991 Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf
  • 1995 Galerie Dumont, Bordeaux
  • 1996 Château d'Angers, Angers
  • 2000 "George Ettl, l'humain après Picasso" Frac Limousin, Limoges
  • 2000 "George Ettl, l'humain après Picasso" Musée de Romans
  • 2000 "George Ettl, Le combat des rois" Abbaye de Saint-Savin sur Gartempe
  • 2000 "George Ettl, Danses, Chapelle Jeanne d'Arc, Thouars
  • 2015 Exhibition in commemoration of first anniversary of George Ettl's death, Villa V, Viersen
  • 2016 "Georg Ettl Early Works, Jiri Svestka Gallery, Berlin
  • 2018 "Georg Ettl, Between Minimalism and Baroque", Stadtmuseum Deggendorf, Germany
  • 2019 "100 Years Bauhaus - The House in the Works of Georg Ettl", Villa V, Viersen, Germany

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS (selection)

 

  • 1967"Exhibition of Michigan Sculpture", Birmingham/Michigan
  • 1969 "Other Ideas", Detroit Institute of Arts
  • 1970 "Plastic Image", Birmingham, Michigan
  • 1971 "Two Artists of 1971 from the Common Ground", with Edmund Morais, Pennsylvania Acadamy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
  • 1972 " All Michigan Exhibition", Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan
  • 1979 "With a Certain Smile", INK, Zürich
  • 1980 "Kick Out The Jams", Detroits Cass Corridar 1963 - 1977, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan
  • 1981 2. Ausstellung der Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung, Karmeliter-Kloster, Frankfurt/M
  • 1984 "Heimat deine Sterne", Städt; Galerie Leerer Beutel, Regensburg
  • 1988 "Schlaf der Vernunft", Museum Fridericianum, Kassel
  • 1988 "Mythos Europa", Kunsthalle Bremen
  • 1988-90 "BiNationale: Deutsche Kunst der späten 80er Jahre, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Städtische Kunsthalle, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf; The institute of contemporary Art, Museum of fine Arts, Boston; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Mineapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston 
  • 1989-90 "Color and/or Monochrome", MOMAK The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo und Kyoto
  • 1994 Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen
  • 1997 "Mannerism and Synthesis", Jiri Svestka Prague, Prague
  • 2001 Altäre - Kunst zum Niederknien, museum-kunst-palast, Düsseldorf
  • 2003 Une collection de "Chefs-d'oeuvre", Emprunts, pastiches, copies, citations et interprétations, FRAC Limousin, Limoges
  • 2004 "L'artiste éditeur, FRAC Limousin, Limoges
  • 2004 "Die weite Welt, Neues und selten Gesehenes aus der Graphischen Sammlung", Ludwigs Museum, Köln
  • 2005 "Sculptures, la tentation de la figure", FRAC Limousin, Limoges 
  • 2007 "Les incontournables, FRAC Limousin, Limoges
  • 2007 "New Arrivals and Classix", Galerie Hafenrichter & Flügel, Nuremberg
  • 2008 "Motivation, Work, Implement", Jiri Svestka Prague, Prague
  • 2008 "L'homme Merveilleux", Château de Malbrouk, Manderen
  • 2008 "3D, oeuvres de la collection du FRAC Limousin, Espace culturel François Mitterand, Perigueux
  • 2009 "Modélisme", FRAC Limousin, Limoges
  • 2010 Galerie Marion Meyer Contemporain, Paris
  • 2013/14 "L'art contemporain du vitrail en Allemagne", Chartres und Naumburg

 

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

  • FRAC Limousin, Limoges
  • Chateau d'Oiron, Oiron
  • IAC, Institute d'art contemporain Villeurbann/Rhône-Alpes, Villeurbanne
  • Ludwig Museum, Cologne
  • Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach
  • MOMAT The National Museum od Modern Art, Tokyo

 

CATALOGUES, BOOKS & PRESS (selection)

 

  • Jay Belloli, Kick out the Jams: Detroits cass corridor 1963-1967, Katalog, Detroit Institute of Art
  • Johannes Cladders, Georg Ettl, Katalog, Jürgen-Ponto-Stiftung, Frankfurt/M, 1981
  • Richard Armstrong, Report from Detroit: was Cass Corridor a Style?, Art in America, 1982
  • Julian Heynen, Georg Ettl: Hausordnung, Katalog, Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, 1983
  • Nena Dimitrijevic, Sculpture and is double, Katalog, The Sculpture Show, Hayward and serpentine galleries, London, 1983
  • Veit Loers, Heimat deine Sterne, Katalog, Städtische gallerie, Regensburg, 1984
  • Nena Dimitrijevic, Sculpture after evolution, Flash Art n° 117, 1984
  • Nena Dimitrijevic, Cumulus, Parkett n° 4, 1985
  • Nena Dimitrijevic, Georg Ettl's representational Iconoclasm, Arte Factum, Nov 1985
  • Nena Dimitrijevic, Meanwhile in the Real World, Flash Art n° 134, 1987
  • Georg Ettl Objekte 1973-1976, Katalog Ausstellung Museum Schloss Hardenberg Velbert, Stadt Velbert. Text Cornelia Will, 1987 
  • Europa, Europa und der Stier, Kusthalle Bremen, 1988
  • Julian Heynen, Nachmittag eines Museumsgängers, im Musée d'Egalité von Georg Ettl, katalog, Mythos
  • Schlaf der Vernunft, Ausstellungskatalog, Fridericianum Museum, Kassel, 1988
  • Dirk Schwarze, Die schlafende Moderne erweckt, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 30. März, 1988
  • Martina Wehlte-Höschele, Die Moderne träumt von sich, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 13. April, 1988
  • Christoph Blase, Schlaf und Stress der Vernunft, Wolkenkratzer Art Journal, N°3, 1988
  • Binationale: Deutsche Kunst der 80er Jahre, Katalog, DuMont Verlag, Köln, 1988
  • Bertram Müller, Nüchternes Bild der Achtziger, Rheinische Post, Düsseldorf, 23. September, 1988
  • Bertram Müller, Ratlos am Ende eines Jahrhunderts, Rheinische Post, Düsseldorf, 1. Oktober, 1988
  • Laszlo Glozer, Abgekühlte Leidenschaften, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21. Oktober 1988
  • Christian Leigh, Art on the verge of a nervous Breakdown, Contemporanea, Vol. II, N° 1, 1989
  • Johannes Cladders, Grafik der 80er Jahre Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart, 1991
  • Arbeiten 1968-1989. Mit Texten (dt. und engl.) von Johannes Cladders, Helge Drafz, Jiri Svestka. Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf 1990
  • Claudia Posca, Georg Ettl. In: Kunstforum international. Bd. 117. Ruppichteroth, 1992
  • Art, architecture, entretiens, Château d'Oiron, Bordeaux, 1997
  • Johannes Cladders, Bilderwelten-Weltbilder. Zum werk von Georg Ettl. In: heilig Geist Kirche Neuss, Regensburg, 2000
  • Heilig Geist Kirche Neuss (Mit Texten von Johannes Cladders und Ines Kohl), Lichtung Verlag, Regensburg, 2000
  • Oeuvres, Maquettes, Projets 1996-2000, FRAC Limousin
  • Jean Hubert Martin, AltäreKunst zum Niederknien, museum-kunst-palast Düsseldorf, 2001
  • Jeffrey Abt/Dennis Alan Nawrocki/Maryann Wilkinson: Up from the Streets,, detroit Art from the Duffy Warehouse Collection. Elaine L. Jacob Gallery wayne State University 2001
  • Jutta Pitzen, Georg Ettl, Katalog Ausstellung Städtische Galerie im Park, Viersen, 2003
  • Jutta Pitzen, Altaropfer und Heiligenvita. In Georg Ettl, Wandmalerein in der Pfarrkirche St. Remigius Viersen, Pfarrgemeinde St. Remigius, Viersen, 2004
  • Heinrich Heine, Mappenwerk. Zusammen mit Felix Droese, Martin Lersch, Thomas Huber, Edition Horst Jansen, Viersen 2006
  • Gerda Marie Voss, Heimat, Georg Ettl Retrospektive, B. Kühlen Verlag Mönchengladbach, 2015