* 31 December 1888 in Eschau/Spessart; † 24 April 1954 in Cologne
German painter and graphic artist
Fritz Schaefler is a master of watercolour and of egg-tempera painting, a technique used to achieve vivid colours of a matt surface. By an expressive use of colours in some cases he creates intense impressions.
From 1908 on, Schaefler attends the Munich Royal Art Academy. His attempts to come to terms, through his art, with traumatic experiences on the Western Front during World War One, will rank him successfully among the Munich avant-garde. From 1919 to 1936 there follow regular exhibitions in major galleries (i.a. Thannhauser, Goltz, Commeter, Neumann), with the Munich and Berlin Secessions, and in renowned German museums. Towards the end of the war, Schaefler takes part in the Munich revolution. After 1920 he settles in Prien-Ernsdorf on the Chiemsee, where he, in an artistically prolific period, creates colourful watercolours and paintings. In the 1920s, the Jewish factory owner Joseph Heymann from Cologne becomes Schaefler’s patron and a collector of his works. In 1927 the artist moves to Cologne. Here, he wins attention, above all by applied art. In 1937 the Nazis show some of his paintings in their propaganda exhibition ‘Degenerate Art’. When there are fewer orders for Schaefler’s works, Heymann continues to support him. And when the factory owner has to emigrate to England in 1937, Schaefler helps him to take his art collection abroad. The collection also comprises some 80 paintings by himself, paintings that are to survive flight and war. After 1945, the painter makes an existential basis for himself by means of commissioned works (i.a. the furnishing of churches), and teaching.
After his death, his works are shown at home and abroad. In 2012, the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen presents rediscovered works by the artist and the London collection Heymann. Schaefler was a member of the German Artists’ Union.