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Kurt Arentz Biography

Heinrichstrasse 45, D-51373 Leverkusen, Germany

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1934 Born on May 30 in Köln as the only child of Emil Arentz and Henriette (born Wieden). He grew up in a small businessman's family in Leverkusen.

1940 - 1951 Attends school and graduates from a Realschule. At the age of 12 he starts to show an interest in works of art; in this interest he is strengthened above all by his grandmother Sophie (born Sauer). Lasting impressions are made by frequent visits to the Carl Duisberg Park in Leverkusen.

There he is introduced to the works of the contemporary sculptors Fritz Klimsch as well as the extensive sculpture collection of Carl Duisberg.

From 1950 he was encouraged to artistic work by conversations with the collector and designer Gustav Ebel from Solingen, student of the painter and graphic artist Jo Strahn.

1951 - 1954 In spite of artistic ambitions he learns the family business in their fish and meat business. From 1954 works as an independent businessman.

1959 Marriage with Maria-Therese Klein from Morsbach-Sieg in Nordrhein-Westfallen. Beginning of a close dialog with contemporary artists. Among them the animal painter Franz-Xaver Stahl (Erding), the animal and landscape painter Michael Matthias Kiefer (Feldweis, Bavaria), the landscape painter R. W. Groeschel, landscape painter Paus Paulus (Prien/Chiemsee), portraitist and landscape painter Willibald Demmel (Gstad/Chiemsee), the painter Wolfgang Tritt (Berlin), portrait painter Josef Vitze (Berchtesgaden), the sculptor Kurt Moser (Munich), Heinrich Faltmeier, Werner Franzen (Bergisch-Gladbach), Erneman Sander (Bonn), the painters Prof. Paul Matthias Padua (Munich), Prof. Wilhelm Broghammer (Bayreuth), Hermann Eller (Deggendorf), Klemens Siebeneichler (Leichlingen), Rudolf Schacht (Rothenburg), Jo Strahn (Düsseldorf), Prof. Georg Siebert (painter of the new realism), painter Kurt Lorenz (Leverkusen), Gottfried Pohl (Leverkusen), horse painter Klaus Phillip (Lüneburger Heide), animal painter Bodo Meier (Netphen/Sauerland), animal painter Klaus Maier (Aschaffenburg), animal painter Pal Cergezan(Budapest, Hungary).

The lady painters Inge Ungewitter (Munich), Helga Tiemann (Köln), Lieselotte Schramm-Heckmann (Düsseldorf). Also talks with Prof. Arno Breker, Prof. Werner Peiner, Prof. Georg Siebert.

1961 Birth of his son Frank (April 27, 1961)

1967 Birth of his daughter Dagmar (February 17, 1967)

1968 - 1977 Experiments with various artistic techniques in painting, drawing and sculpture.

1978 Beginning of the sculpture series "The Arc of Noah" with depictions of animals in small format.

Encouraged to further sculptural work by Prof. Arno Breker, Prof. Werner Peiner and Prof. Georg Siebert.

1980 First exhibition of his work of arts, after years of working in silence.

1981 First exhibition in the "Haus der Kunst," a famous art museum in Munich

Makes studies on the theme Adam and Eve; begins work on the series "Animals and Creation", among them the bronze falcon "Sheik." Official commission for the creating of the Paulich Memorial of the city of Leverkusen (unveiled on June 25, 1982).

1982 Portrait Ulrike Mayfarth, handed over on June 28, 1982. (Twice winner of Olympic gold medals). With this, portraits become a central theme of the cretive work of the artist.

Beginning of the work on the portraits of the Bavarian Prime Minister Franz-Josef Strauss. The bronze portraits are exhibited later in the German capital Bonn: in front of the residence of Strauss (in larger-than-life size) and in the Bavarian House of Representatives in Bonn. A relief also in the Strauss art collection.

1983 Presentation of more than 20 horse sculptures at the "Official International Equesterian Tournament" in the Federal Republic of Germany . CHIO, Aachen.

Portrait Herbert von Karajan, which is later exhibited at the house in Salzburg where von Karajan was born. Portait of the Wagnerian singer Peter Hofmann.

Special exhibition in the "German Hunting and Fishing Museum" in Munich, under the patronage of the Prime Minister Franz-Josef Strauss.

1984 Exhibition takes place at the Nordrhein-Westfallen Kunstkreis (NRW-Kunstkreis), with representations of Don Quichote and Sancho Panza. The first book "The Sculptor Kurt Arentz" is published by Marco-Edition, Bonn-Paris-New York.

Portrait of thepopular actor Willy Millowitsch (exhibition in April in the Milowitsch Theatre in Köln in the presence of the artist). Arentz talks in favor of closer cooperation with and for support of artists living in East Germany. Arentz becomes engaged in supporting freedom of expression in the arts.

Sculpture exhibition in the museum of natural sciences Alexander König Museum in Bonn under the patronage of the German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Exhibition of the portraits of Karajan and Hofmann in the Dumont-Lindemann-Archives in Düsseldorf.

Handing over of the portrait of the German President Karl Carstens in Bonn to the statesman. The German President visits the Arentz Exhibition in the König Museum.

1985 Exhibition of the bust Ulrike Mayfarth in the foyer of the Sport Center "Kurt-Riess-Halle" in Leverkusen in the presence of the sportswoman and the artist.

Invitation to join the American committee "Art for Olympia."

Work on the larger-than-life bust of the animal film maker and writer Heinz Sielmann, which is exhibited at the Heinz-Sielmann-Foundation on June 22, 1986 in Sielmann's presence.

Invitation to the birthday celebration of Franz-Josef Strauss and handing over of the bronze "Birkhahn-Balz" in recognition of the CSU politician's engagement for ecology.

Handing over in Munich of the portrait "Manfred Wörner" to the German Minister of Defense and later on, the Secretary General of NATO.

1986 Exhibition of the bust "Mildred Scheel" on a long-term loan to the House of German Cancer Help Association in Bonn (January 15).

Meeting with Georg Leber. Followed by the creation of a bust of the former German Defense Minister in the government under Brandt.

Creation of a pair of bald eagles "Liberty" and "Peace." These eagles, represented on the American coat-of-arms, are handed over to Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy at the White House in Washington

Exhibition of the large-than-life bronze eagle at the German military airport "Wahner-Heide" between Köln and Bonn by the German Defense Minister Manfred Wörner (Monday, June 9).

Exhibition of the bronze "Roland", the horse of the BAYER Riding Club, in front of the Riding Hall in Leverkusen across from the Museum of the Morsbroich Castle. The portrait of the German minister of agriculture Ignaz Kiechle is handed over at the Ministry in Bonn (September 19, 1986).

Sculpture exhibition in the framework of the initiative "Art into the Countryside" in the Haus Schlesien near Bonn in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund, an organization dedicated to protecting Nature; it is opened by the German WWF organization's president Prince Casimir zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.

Honored by the the award of the bronze-medal at the International Wildlife and Ecology Exhibition in the Frankenhalle in Nürnberg (May 23 to June 1). Takes up an international dialog, above all with USA and Western Europe.

Takes the death-mask of Margarethe Goussanthier, called Madame Buchela, a woman well-known after 1945 for her predictions of the future, known as "Pythia of Bonn."

1987 Portrait Jean-Marie Rausch, President de la Region Lorraine and the French Minister of Foreign Trade (handing over of the bust on May 19). First exhibition in France takes place in "Hotel de Ville," the city hall of Metz.

Arentz receives the cultural prize of 1987 from the German Jagdschutzverband e V., "in recognition of his important achievements as sculptor." Letter of thanks from the US President Ronald Reagan for the creationg of the two bald eagles (May 26, 1987). Presentation of the bust "Josef Neckermann," the president of the German Sport Help Association, in the atelier of the artist in Leverkusen.

First meeting with Ernst Fuchs, the founder of the Viennese School of Fantastic Realism (Friday, September 18, 1987). At that time presentation of a study of head in bronze "Portrait Ernst Fuchs."

In commission from the city of Metz, the renovation of a famous dog sculpture by the French sculptor Christoph Fratin, which belongs to the art collection of the city of Metz. Portrait of the French culinary master Paul Haeberlin is exhibited in the "Auberge de Ill" in Illhäusern/Elsass.

Joint exhibition with the painter Helga Tiemann "Portraits of Personalities of Our TIme" in the House of Parliamentary Society in the German capital Bonn.

1988 Portrait of the CDU politician Kai-Uwe von Hassel, the former German Minister and President of the Parliament. Handing over in Bonn.

Handing over of the portrait Axel Springer (August) to the widow of the publisher. Exhibition of the work in the Axel-Springer-Haus in Berlin, Kochstrasse.

Meeting with Willy Brandt. Followed by a portrait of the former German Chancellor.

Relief "Three Horses" for the state collection of Baaden-Württenberg's Landsgestüt in Marbach. Inscription on the relife: "With the heritage to the future." Handing over to Dr. Wolfgang Cranz.

Creation of the bust "Dr. Jakob Omphal" from a coin. Omphal is first officially mentioned citizen of Wiesdorf in the 16th century; Wiesderof later on became the city of Leverkusen. Honorary prize from a citizens association for distinguished citizens of Leverkusen.

1989 Arentz opens up the public debate on the new design of the German Eagle, which hangs in the German Parliament as the official German sign. Exhibition of the monumental bust Franz-Josef Strauss in the German capital Bonn, of the Finance Minister Theo Waigel and other leading personalities of the political parties CDU and CSU.

Creation of the "Far-looking Falcon", which the Fund for Ecological Studies awards as its ecological prize. Co-founders of the prize are Christianne and Emil Underberg. First prize is awarded to Erivan Haub (Tengelmann) and IBM director Olaf Henkel.

1990 Exhibition of the portrait of the cellist and music conductor "Mstislav Rostropovich," as well as of the Catalan architect "Ricardo Bofill" im ARSENAL of the Philharmonic Orchestra in the city of Metz.

Handing over of the bust "Helmut Kohl" to the German Chancellor on the occasion of his 60th birthday celebration in the Beethoven Hall in Bonn. Portrait of the German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher handed over.

Handing over, in the Town Hall of Schöneberg, of the portrait "Peter Lorenz" (President of the Berlin Senate from 1975 - 1980), commissioned by the Berlin Senate.

Exhibition of the more than two meters tall bronze sculpture "Rising Steinbocks" in Klosters in Switzerland, in front of the Sylvretta-Parkhotel.

1991 Exhibition of the bronze sculpture "Rising Steinbock" in Vupera/Engadin in Switzerland. Invitation into the jury "Children and Art", a folk contest to promote creativity of schoolchildren in pre-school age. Creation of the "Ohrenorden" which is awarded by the traditional "Kölner Bürgergesselschaft von 1868" as Honorary Prize to publicly engaged citizens whose "ear is listening to the pulse of Time." (Among the prize recipients are German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, prelate Norbert Herkenrath of the Help Organization MISEREOR, the TV journalist Gerd Ruge and the journalist and moderator Carmen Thomas, as well as Franz-Xaver Ohnesorg, director of the Köln Philharmonic Orchestra).

First journey to USA with wife Marie-Therese on the invitation of the German-American National Congress (DANK). Visit to Ronald Reagan on April 29, 1991. Handing over of the portrait by B. John Zavrel, the director of the American Museum of European Art. Followed by the letter of thanks by Reagan for the bust which is made part of the collection of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Commission from USA for a bust "Geoge Bush."

Award of the ecological prize "Ecological Eagle" to the German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher at the Nörvenich Castle in the presence of Heinz Sielmann and Margot Werner.

Meeting with the Spanish Crown Prinze Felipe at a Dali Exhibition at the Nörvenich Castle.

1992 More and more prominent personalities visit the atelier of the artist, among them the CDU politician Dr. Jürgen Rütgers, the Education Minister of the Kohl government. Meeting with Michael Gorbatchev in Berlin in connection with the award of honorary citizenship to the former Soviet head of state as well as to the US President Ronald Reagan, who was represented by the director of his office.

Talks with the French writer Roger Peyrefitte on the occasion of his visit to poetry reading at the Nörvenich Castle.

1993 Award of the "Ecological Eagle", designed by Arentz to H.R.H. Prince Charles (March 19). The award, which took place in the presence of the artist, was made by the German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel in the guest mansion of the German government "Petersberg" near Bonn. The main speaker, Sir Peter Ustinov praised the "philosophically-looking" eagle: "It is the first German eagle which appeals to me."

Arentz retrospective takes place in the front hall of the skyscraper in Liverkusen. The opening is on June 30 by Dr. Bertram Anders, and the German minister of agriculture Dr. Ignaz Kiechle. Minister Kiechle thanked the artist for "the art, which every person can grasp and understand, an art which gives one joy instead of fear, which gives answers instead of raising useless questions."

The "Zachäus Memorial" is unveiled in Leverkusen-Quettingen (May 8). The presentation shows the "Drickes" Heinrich Kosten.

Creation of the "Bergish Lion" with the typical double tail, for the title page of the Annual Book of the "Rheinisch-Bergischer Kalender 1994," which has been published continuously for 64 years.

Exhibition of a life-size group of wolves "Four Wolves" of the frim WOCO in Epinal in France. (Another group of wolves is exhibited in 1995 in Bad Soden-Salmünster).

First comprehensive exhibition of 50 of his paintings takes place in the Raiffeisenbank in Leverkusen-Lützenkirchen.

1994 Study journey to South Africa with wife Marie-Therese (April). Among other, stay in the Cape region and in the Krüger National Park to observe the African wild life. In Cape Town award of the cultural prize of the "Conseil International de la Chasse et de la Conservation du Gibier" (C.I.C.). Handed over by the chairman of the jury, Princess Maria zu Stolberg-Wernigerode in presence of Horst Niesters and Dr. Nicholas Franco (Spain).

Award of the "Omphal Medal" to Arentz, in memory of the the lawyer Jacob von Omphal (155-1567).

A large Arentz retrospective on the occasion of the 60th birthday of the artist in Museum Europäische Kunst at the Nörvenich Castle in Germany. The exhibiton is under the patronage of the President of the German Parliament, Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth. The closing reception is attended by Mrs. Hannelore Kohl, who in her laudatio on the artist conveyed the greetings from the German Chancellor.

Journey to the USA. Handing over of the portrait "George Bush" in the presence of Barbara Bush at the private residence in Kennebunkport in Maine. The portrait is to be placed in the future George Bush Presidential Library in Texas. Award of the "Ecological Eagle" to George Bush by B. John Zavrel in presence of Barbara Bush, Marie-Therese Arentz, General Brent Scowcroft, the former National Security advisor of President Bush. He receives a letter of thanks from George Bush, with praise for the portrait (August 16, 1995).

Meeting with Wilson Greatbatch, the inventor of the implantable heart pacemaker and Vice-Grandmaster of the Order of Alexander the Great for Art and Science.

1995 Invitation as board member of C.I.C. at the annual meeting of the international organization in Monaco under the patronage of Prince Rainier of Monaco. Study journey to Corsica to observe wild animals in free nature. Stay at Camarque to observe wild horses, black bulls and wild birds.

Meeting with the pianist Justus Frantz in Bonn. The taking of his handprint. Participates with 20 of his bronze sculptures at the State Garden Show in Nordrhein-Westfallen in Grevenbroich.

Handing over of the portrait Ernst Fuchs at the exhibition "Ernst Fuchs - the Masterpieces" on the occasion of the 65th birthday of the painter at the Museum Europäische Kunst at Nörvenich Castle (September 9, 1995).

1996 Study journey to Greece on the invitation of the Order of Alexander the Great for Art and Science. With daughter Dagmar they visit the ancient places in Athens, Delphi, on the islands of Delos, Mykonos and Santorini, and also Cape Sunion. An Alexander-Dinner is given by the Chancellor of the Alexander-Order, B. John Zavrel in honor of Arentz, in connection with the award to Arentz of the "Grand Star of Athens" in appreciation of the artist's contributions to the classical traditon. At the meeting in front of the night panorama of the bringtly-lit Acropolis, at the laudatio some of the other knights of the Alexander-Order are remembered,among them Ernst Jünger and Ronald Reagan.

Portrait of President Bill Clinton commissioned from USA.

Exhibition "Kurt Arentz in Berlin", in the Berlin Town Hall opens on October 1.

Invitation to an exhibition in 1997 (from January 26) "The Many Forms of Animals" in Baykomm, the Communications Center of the firm BAYER AG in Leverkusen. Opening by Prof. Heinz Sielmann.

1997 Exhibition of the bronze "The Journey - Mother and Child" in the pedestrian zone in Opladen-Leverkusen. In April and May he makes a study journey on the Rhone and to Camarque. Commission for portrait Ernst Gerstenberg.

In May and June he completes the Heinz Sielmann Ecological Prize "Fischotter." The handing over ceremony to the prize recipient takes place in Duderstadt.

Bronze creation "The Loyal Hussar" at the Stephanus Church in Leverkusen Bürrig. An initiative "Leverkusen should live more beautifully" with Dr. Betram Anders, Mayor Dr. Walter Mende. Dedication by Cardinal Joachim Meisner.

Participation at "10 Years Gestütsmuseum Marbach" in Offenhausen.

Bronze creation of the Saint Maurinus in Lützenkirchen, an Irish-Scottish monk who served in the area as a missionary aroundthe year 900.

Initiative "Artists Help", a Czech-made automobile Skoda-Oktavia is turned into a work of art.

Invitation by President George Bush and First Lady Barbara to the inauguration of the George Bush Presidential Library at the A & M University in College Station, Texas. There a handing over of the bronze portrait First Lady Barbara Bush.

Award of the prize for science "Heart in Hand" by Consul B. John Zavrel to Prof. Dr. Julian Ambrus in Buffalo, New York in the presence of the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Herbert Hauptmann and the inventor of the implantable heart pacemaker Dr. Wilson Greatbatch.

Ceremonial handing over of the bronze horse Roland to the BAYER Riding Club in Leverkusen.

1998 Dedication of the Cardinal Frings Memorial in Köln on the Laurentz Square in the presence of Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the German minister Dr. Norbert Blüm, and the Mayor of Köln, Norbert Burger.

Portraits Dr. Rheinfried Pohl, Elisabeth Haub.

In May, a study journey to Prague and the C.I.C. annual meeting. Meeting with Prince Lobkowitz.

Award of the Heinz Sielmann Ecological Eagle to German minister Borchert.

Exhibition "Kunst im alten Südhaus" at the Schneider Brewery in Kelheim.

In June, inivitation by the US Embassy to the unveiling of the monumental sculpture "Spring into Freedom" in Berlin. The sculpture of five mustangs jumping over the remnants of the Berlin Wall, created by the American sculptor Veryl Goodnight, makes a great impression on Arentz: "This sculpture is the most important depiction of an animal in art at the end of the 20th century. This great work can be compared to the Statute of Liberty in New York," said the artist at the unveiling ceremony attended by President George Bush.


Copyright 1999 Museum of European Art

Biography by B. Castell



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PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, Politics and Science.