Hubert Berke

Buer/Westfalen 1908 - Köln-Rodenkirchen 1979

In 1931-32 Hubert Berke studied at first philosophy, theology and history of arts at the universities of Münster and Königsberg. In 1932 he began his studies of painting under Fritz Burmann at the academy of art in Königsberg, followed by a switch to the academy of arts in Düsseldorf in 1932-33 where he became Paul Klee's pupil. Heinrich Nauen, with whom he studied in Xanten in summer 1933, also was an important teacher.
The same year Hubert Berke returned to Buer and began to work independently. His first one-man show took place at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne in 1936, the following year he travelled to Paris for the first time to deal with literary works et al. with Grimmelshausen or Ch. De Coster.
Hubert Berke was able to "hide" his thoughts about the time in freely illustrating imaginative plates. In spite of National Socialism his tendency towards Surrealism, abstract and tachistic painting became apparent, which became manifest in the 1940s.
In 1941 the artist was drafted and got into American war captivity in 1945. After his return Hubert Berke settled at first in Alfter, in 1957 he moved to Cologne-Rodenkirchen. During the following years he joined the "Deutscher Künstlerbund", the "Westdeutscher Künstlerbund", the "Neue Rheinische Sezession", the group "Junger Westen", the "Münchner Neue Gruppe" and the group "ZEN".
Between 1960 and 1975 Berke taught visual arrangement at the "Technische Hochschule" Aachen. His image world was formed by many changes in a constant relation of tension between abstraction and relicts of visual experiences, in which his time with Klee had a forming influence. His development took place without upheavals and with a constant broadening of his technical abilities and a refinement of the possibilities of expression.
Hubert Berke's works were shown in numerous one-man shows and group exhibitions in museums et al. At the Cologne Kunstverein in 1949 and 1971, at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne in 1979, at the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum Aachen in 1981 and at the S"tädtische Kunsthalle" Mannheim in 1981. Furthermore the artist received important awards and honours like the Cornelius-prize of the city of Düsseldorf in 1948, the "Großer Preis" of the city of Cologne in 1961 and the Ernst-Osthaus-prize of the city of Hagen as well as the Conrad-von-Soest-prize (Westphälischer Kunstpreis) of the city of Münster in 1962.

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