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Norbert Schwontkowski (German, born in 1949)


59 1/2 x 59 inches

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

Not On View


Contemporary Art



Norbert Schwontkowski’s poetic works are deceptively simple in their child-like rendering of image. Dominating his works are uncomplicated figures, landscapes or objects that drift in front of ephemeral backgrounds that feel as if they could dissipate at any moment. Based on an economy of color and form, Schwontkowski’s naïve whimsy and elusive narratives give just enough for a viewer to open a dialogue within their imagination. Although uncomplicated in composition, the paintings are complex in their fabrication and paint-handling. Schwontkowski mixes his own paints and glazes using centuries old techniques to create his signature muted tones and lush surfaces. Fertile in associations, his work references a wide array of painterly traditions, including but going beyond those of Romanticism while expressing a highly unique and personal vision. Herbstpfütze (Autumn Puddle) combines a mastery of painting technique with a mysterious and foreboding view of the shadows cast by trees, a take on landscape painting that engages viewers visually and emotionally.


The Artist, via Produzentengalerie, Hamburg, Germany; to Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York NY; Sold to Museum 2007 (Accession date June 27, 2007)

Credit Line

Irving W. and Charlotte F. Rabb Acquisition Fund for the Department of Contemporary Art