Rudolf Schlichter

~ 1890 - 1955

Rudolf Schlichter was a German artist and one of the most important representatives of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement.

Schlichter was born in Calw, Württemberg. After an apprenticeship as an enamel painter at a Pforzheim factory he attended the School of Arts and Crafts in Stuttgart. He subsequently studied under Hans Thoma and Wilhelm Trübner at the Academy in Karlsruhe. Called for military service in World War I, he carried out a hunger strike to secure early release, and in 1919 he moved to Berlin where he joined the Communist Party of Germany and the "November" group. He took part in a Dada fair in 1920 and also worked as an illustrator for several periodicals.

Schlichter was known for his fondness for frequenting the most rogue brothels in the city, and earning a living selling openly pornographic illustrations, which he signed with the pseudonym scored by Udor Rédyl. Many of them were inspired by his partner in those early postwar years, the prostitute Fanny Hablützel.

In 1925 Schlichter participated in the "Neue Sachlichkeit" exhibit at the Mannheim Kunsthalle. His work from this period is realistic, a good example being the Portrait of Margot (1924) now in the Berlin Märkisches Museum. It depicts a prostitute who often modeled for Schlichter, standing on a deserted street and holding a cigarette. Schlichter used the pseudonym Udor Retyl for some of his artworks.

In 1927 he met Elfriede Elisabeth Koehler, who became his muse and Dominatrix. She was 25 when she met him. It was Schlichter who baptized Elfriede, as muse, lover and wife, with the name that would make her popular: Speedy, Speedy Schlichter

When Adolf Hitler took power, bringing to an end the Weimar period, his activities were greatly curtailed. In 1935 he returned to Stuttgart, and four years later to Munich. In 1937 his works were seized as degenerate art, and in 1939 the Nazi authorities banned him from exhibiting. His studio was destroyed by Allied bombs in 1942.

At the war's end, Schlichter resumed exhibiting works. His works from this period were surrealistic in character. He died in Munich in 1955.

6 albums/42 artworks

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Karen Smits

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