ARTISTS / Modern art
Julius Bissier

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Julius Bissier
Julius Bisser Photo: Toni Schneiders
1893born in Freiburg
1914studies at the art academy in Karlsruhe
1919Friendship with the sinologist Ernst Grosse
1929Friendship with Willi Baumeister
1929-33Head of the painting class at the University of Freiburg
1934Friendship with Oskar Schlemmer
1939Moves to Hagnau on Lake Constance
1958XXIX Venice Biennale; exhibition at the Kestner-Gesellschaft Hanover
1959Participation in documenta II; Cornelius Prize of the City of Düsseldorf
1960XXX. Venice Biennale; Prize of the Sao Paulo Museum;
 Art Prize of the City of Berlin
1961Moves to Ascona; special prize at the VI Sao Paulo Biennial
1964Participation in documenta III; Grand Art Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
1965died in Ascona
Beginning in the mid-1950s, Julius Bissier created his "miniatures," which form small organisms in egg oil tempera on linen, nettle, or cotton with specially made brushes. They are oriented neither to the reproduction of a representational world, nor to an already existing art form. Here Julius Bissier transcends the simple colorfulness of ink and expands it with the colors of watercolor and egg-oil-tempera. With egg-oil tempera on a fine, whitewashed linen fabric, Bissier can work as he does with ink drawings or watercolors, without having to accept an increased sensitivity to light. The color can flow, glaze the background, and also emerge opaquely as a luminous color. Bissier created pictorial myths that - detached from an unambiguous symbolism - convey a comprehensible sense of form derived from the experience of nature. The deep impression that the writings of the legal and cultural historian Johann Jakob Bachofen left on Bissier is clearly evident here. Bachofen's researches turn away from the "materialistic" interpretation of history and try to uncover the deeper, mythical and irrational layers. Bissier shared this intention. "The symbols in the pictures are mute parables that are rarely understood by the viewer, but are sensed as something inexpressible or poignant" - this statement of Bachofen's has found its pictorial implementation in Bissier's miniatures. 
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