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Fritz Ascher (1893–1970)

Fritz Ascher© Bianca Stock

Fritz Ascher was a German Expressionist painter, whose work is characterized by his vigorous brushstrokes and expressive choice of colors.

Born on October 17, 1893 to the dentist and businessman Hugo Ascher and Minna Luise (born Schneider), the artist’s talent showed early. He studied with Professor Adolf Meier and Professor Kurt Agthe, and at the age of 16 he studied with Max Liebermann, who gave him the “Künstlereinjährige,” an art diploma, and recommended him to the art academy Königsberg. Ascher developed his expressionistic paintings around artists like Ludwig Meidner and Emil Nolde. “Der Vereinsamte” ("The Loner," around 1920) or “Golem” (1916, today in the collection of the Jewish Museum Berlin) show his powerful expressionistic pictorial language and his interest in the human condition.

The rise of the Nazi regime put an abrupt end to Fritz Ascher's career. His paintings were classified as “Degenerate Art,” and as early as 1933 he was forbidden to work. After brief imprisonment in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen and the Potsdam prison, Ascher survived the Nazi regime in hiding, and continued to live in Berlin after 1945, resuming his work, mainly in solemn solitude.

As an artist he now came into his own, searching for and developing forms suiting his genuine feelings. Living close to the Grunewald, the expansive city forest of Berlin, the artist observed and painted nature in different light, at different times, and in different seasons. He created powerful images of trees and meadows, sunrises and sundowns, all devoid of human presence, in which sun and light became a dominating force. In landscapes like “Durchsonnter Wald” (“Forest in Sunlight”) and "Nachthimmel" ("Sky at Night”), both from the early 1960s, Ascher found a powerful pictorial language of bold expressionist colors and forms. He died on March 26, 1970 shortly after the termination of the lease of his Berlin apartment.

A short version of this biography is part of the urban memorials exhibition



Dresslers Kunsthandbuch, Berlin 1930, Band 2, S.24.

Moritz van Dülmen/Wolf Kühnelt/Bjoern Weigel (Hg.), Zerstörte Vielfalt/Diversity Destroyed. Berlin 1933-1938-1945. Eine Stadt erinnert sich/A City Remembers, Berlin 2013, S. 262ff.

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