Artistic legacy

The Wilhelm G. Niemöller art collection includes some 3000 individual examples of various artistic categories. It represents a wide variety of works by this artist, which includes the central categories such as wooden sculptures, monotypes and silhouettes as well as numerous drawings and examples of other artistic techniques.

The collected works in the artist’s estate represent various creative phases of Niemöller’s work and thus mirror his artistic development from the early 1950s until his death in 2017.

The wooden sculptures

Niemöller’s wooden sculptures stem from the period between the 1970s and the 2000s. The various objects were created from industrial and handmade wooden finds and have frequently been assembled. In sum they constitute an anthropomorphic whole.

Wood is an organic material which combines originality on the one hand, and often quite evident previous functionality on the other, which naturally creates artistic tension. This appeals to the viewer who sees various figures which, taken as a whole, seem to present him/her with a mirror image of the wide range of human experience.

To the wooden sculptures

The monotypes

The monotypes on the basis of oil are mainly from the 1960s. These works often hint at the social and political concerns of this period, including major issues like the relationship between the sexes, violence and social hierarchies. Even so, the overall effect of the pictures is timeless. The representations, which are mostly multicoloured, are noteworthy in terms of their starkly formal composition, while the statement they make is surprisingly current.

To the monotypes

The silhouettes

At the end of the 1990s Niemöller began to explore the adaptability of the silhouette. The special effects of the mostly representational depictions are partly achieved through the usage of black spray paint, with which he prepared the material to be used for the silhouette. The original two-dimensional material has taken on a life of its own owing to this preparatory treatment and his carefully calculated choice of form when cutting the silhouettes. The resulting artistic works strike the viewer as being particularly vivid. The silhouette appears to be a sculpture and simultaneously plays with the imposed or supposed rules of realistic representation.

To the silhouettes

The overpaintings

From the start of the new millennium Niemöller took up the challenge of overpainting. His works in this category were created using black felt tip pens exclusively on a background of individual pages taken from catalogues of his own earlier exhibitions.

The creative points of reference here stem from the possible change of perspective while simultaneously working with loose pages and a fixed layout of text and illustration as well as the reproduction of his own exhibited works. What happens is that the original basis, which supplies certain rules in terms of form, is open to a very wide range of new interpretations. This combination results in the viewer’s observing a playful easiness and freshness when he/she studies the works.

To the overpaintings