Peter Keil

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The work of Peter Keil, a German neo-expressionist, exhibits the primitive power of the expressionist movement as well as the techniques of folk artists the world over.

The Dionysian spirit of primitive art, emitting power, strength and clarity, startles the viewer and focuses his attention on inner emotions artists are anxious to expose.

Primitivism, although ostensibly portraying reality, uses distortion and intense, exaggerated color to portray psychological force and passion.  It also is a powerful technique used by artists to startle and then reject the established, over-indulgent style which preceded it.

Peter Robert Keil is an internationally acclaimed artist, recognized for his unique method of harmonious form and discordant colors.  His works are sold at leading auction houses around the world and hang in numerous museums and private collections.

The Hurn Museum collection presents a broad spectrum of his earlier work in Berlin and Mallorca during the late 1950’s, and early ‘60’s.

Peter was born in Zullichau, Pomerania, (now Poland), on August 6, 1942.  At age 15, he began painting and created art with the help of his first mentor, Otto Nagel.  He admired the works of Piccasso and other expressionists, fascinated by the bright colors that contrasted with the bleak environment where he grew up.  The political structure in Germany, including the addition of the Berlin Wall however, forced him to abandon his studies with this influential instructor.

In the late 1950’s, Peter met Joan Miro and began to study with him, as well as visit his home, on the island of Mallorca.  It was here that the freedom of rhythmic structuring, the verve of brightness and the vocabulary of form led him away from his earlier didactic, realistic style depicting human life.

He apprenticed in Paris, in a small studio where he learned to keep his art free of nature’s constraints, utilizing a dynamic and spontaneous brushwork technique that distanced him even further from classical realism.  At night, he came into contact with diverse Parisian characters including alcoholics, drug addicts and street walkers, who eventually came to serve as models for his work.

From this point onward, Peter’s work bore his unique individual  trade mark: a certain coarseness, dynamism and exuberant coloring which remains a record and testament  to his contribution to the West German, neo-expressionist movement.