Johnny Friedlaender

Johnny Friedlaender and Brigitte Coudrain

Johnny Friedlaender was born on June 21, 1912 in what was then Silesia but now Poland.  Those were difficult times and in 1921 the family moved to Breslau (now Wroclaw) in Silesia.  His father was a Pharmacist.  In 1922 Johnny graduated from high school in Wroclaw and was admitted to the Wroclaw Academy of Arts where he studied under Otto Mueller ( one of the early members of the Die Brucke expressionist movement which had a major impact on the evolution of modern art in the 20th Century and the creation of Expressionism).  He graduated from the academy in 1928 and moved to Dresden where he held his first exhibitions.  Johnny spent several months in Berlin. There, he met Valeska Gert.  He discovered the “Bauhaus”, Oscar Schlemmer’s "Triadic Ballet", Kirchner, Kokoschka, and Klee.
Like his uncles on his mother’s side, respectively actor and theater director,he was attracted to the theater and considered becoming a stage director. 
In 1933 he went to Berlin.  He then spent the next two years in a concentration camp.   In 1936 he went to Czcheckoslovakia , Austria, France and Belgium.  
In 1937 he fled to Paris as a political refugee with his wife where he held an exhibition of his etchings.   From 1939 to 1943 he was detained several times in various parts of Europe.   During those travels he met other expatriates such as Marc Chagall and Andre Breton....he survived against all odds.  Afte freedom in 1944 he began a series of twelve etchings called the  Images du Malheur with Sagile as his publisher. In the same year he received a commission to illustrate four books by Freres Tharaud of the French Academy. In 1945 he performed work for several newspapers including Cavalcade and Carrefour. In the year 1947 he produced the work Reves Cosmiques and in that same year he became a member of the Salon de Mai, which position he held until 1969. In the year 1948 he began a friendship with the painter Nicolas de Staël and held his first exhibition in Copenhagen at Galerie Birch. The following year he showed for the first time in Galerie La Hune in Paris. After living in Paris for 13 years, Friedlaender became a French citizen in 1950.
Friedlaender expanded his geographic scope in 1951 and exhibited in Tokyo in a modern art show. In the same year he was a participant in the XI Trienale in Milan, Italy. By 1953 he had produced works for a one-man show at the Museum of Neuchâtel and exhibited at the Galerie Moers in Amsterdam, the II Camino Gallery in Rome, in São PauloBrazil and in Paris. He was a participant of the French Italian Art Conference in Turin, Italy that same year.  
In 1966, Associating with the composer Carl Orff, he publishes an album entitled " Exercices" (Exercises) featuring eight of his prints-and sixteen musical sketches - "Manus Presse", Stuttgart, publishers. 
By 1968 Friedlaender was traveling to Puerto Rico, Washington and New York.  His work epitomized the spirit of the Mid-Century Modern design.  He continued exhibiting and working until he died at the age of 80 in Paris on June 18, 1992.

Country of origin: 


Life Span: 

1912 - 1992

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