Kurt Schwerdtfeger

Kurt Schwerdtfeger was born in 1897 in the German city of Puddiger (now Podgórki, Poland) and fought in both world wars as a soldier. In 1919/20, he studied art history and philosophy in Königsberg and Jena before he applied to the Bauhaus in 1920. He stayed there until 1924 and put his artistic emphasis on sculpture. The Reflecting Colour-Light Games, which are documented with two photographs in the catalogue for the major Bauhaus Exhibition of 1923, are still among his most important works of this period.

Directly after his education at the Bauhaus, Kurt Schwerdtfeger received a teaching assignment at the Art College for Design Work in Stettin. This was changed into a professorship for sculpture in 1927 and he remained in this position until 1937.

From 1924 to 1933, Schwerdtfeger participated in various exhibitions in Germany and other countries. These included the Berlin Secession, the November Group (of which he was a member), the Stettin State Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Paris Centre Pompidou.

In the year of his dismissal from employment at the university, Schwerdtfeger’s artistic works were ostracised as “degenerate” and removed from museums and public collections. The worked that he had stored in Stettin were also completely destroyed in 1945.

With the end of the war, it became possible for Schwerdtfeger to once again dedicate himself to art. In 1946, he received the professorship for art pedagogics at the Pedagogical University in Alfeld a. d. Leine (University of Hildesheim) and remained in this position until his death in 1966.  His newly created works were presented in national and international exhibitions, as well as sculptures in public buildings. In 1953, Schwerdtfeger published his book called Bildende Kunst und Schule (Fine Art and School) in the Schroedel-Verlag. From 1964 to 1966, he prepared a reconstruction of the Reflecting Colour-Light Games with his Alfeld students. Kurt Schwerdtfeger had been a member of the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation) since 1932 and was accepted into the German Artist Association in 1955.