HAP Grieshaber

Rot 1909 - Achalm bei Reutlingen 1981

Helmut Andreas Paul Grieshaber was born on 15 February 1909 in the Upper Swabian Rot an der Rot. He went to school from 1915 to 1926 in Nagold and Reutlingen and then began an apprenticeship as a book printer and typesetter. At the same time Grieshaber began studying calligraphy at the Staatliche Buchgewerbeschule in Stuttgart. The artist spent the years 1931 to 1933 abroad: working for six months in London as an illustrator and graphic artist for 'Vogue' and other journals; in 1932 he continued via Paris to Egypt and Greece, where he organised exhibitions of his works in different cities. He published the journal 'Deutsche Zeitung' in Athens, a journal dealing with cultural politics. This project resulted in threats from the German envoy in Athens in 1933 and Grieshaber was forced to return to Germany. The artist began concentrating on woodcut techniques in 1932 and the woodcut soon became one of his most important artistic mediums. He discovered his typical graphic style in the so-called 'Reutlinger Drucke', a style which is strongly influenced by medieval woodcut techniques. After being banned from painting and exhibiting in 1933, Grieshaber was only able to exhibit his works secretly. One of these concealed exhibitions was at the Stuttgart Galerie Valentien - it had the title 'Arabic Folk Books - Greek Folk Painting'. He earned his living during this period as an untrained labourer and a newspaper delivery man. Grieshaber joined the army in 1940 and was captured by the Belgians in 1945. After his return to Germany in 1947 Grieshaber lived on the Achalm near Reutlingen. He was offered a teaching post at the Bernsteinschule near Sulz am Neckar in 1951. Other teaching positions followed: at the Akademie in Karlsruhe as Erich Heckel's successor in 1955 and at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 1956. Grieshaber resigned from his teaching post in Karlsruhe in 1960 out of protest against the examination regulations. The artist spent the next two years working for the journal 'Labyrinth' together with Walter Warnach and Heinrich Böll. In 1964 he founded and co-published 'Engel der Geschichte', a journal dealing with current topics of society. He also created artworks for public spaces, such as wooden reliefs, mosaics, murals and stained-glass windows. Grieshaber was honoured with numerous prizes and retrospective exhibitions. He exhibited works at the documenta in 1959 and 1964. He was elected a correspondence member of the Akademie der Künste in East Berlin in 1978. Grieshaber died on 12 May 1981. In 1987 the 'Freundeskreis HAP Grieshaber e.V.' was founded.

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