Kastel Gallery

Fritz Brandtner (1896-1969)

Born in Danzig, (then Germany), in 1896, Fritz Brandtner was conscripted into the German Army in 1915. He spent most of the war as a prisoner of war, in France. After World War One, he returned to Germany, and studied art at the University of Danzig where he taught life drawing in the Architecture Department. During this period, he became greatly interested in the work of the German Expressionists, such as Kirchner and Kandinsky, whose works he studied at the Danzig Civic Gallery.

He immigrated to Canada in 1928 and settled in Winnipeg. It was very difficult for an artist to make a living during this period, so he was forced to do odd jobs before landing a position at Brigden’s as a commercial artist and designer. There he met and became friends with Lemoine Fitzgerald. It was Brandtner who introduced Fitzgerald to Modernism and the work of the German Expressionists. Brandtner found that he had a great deal of trouble having his style of work recognized by members of the Winnipeg art scene. Fitzgerald suggested that he would be more successful in a cosmopolitan centre, like Montreal. Before leaving Winnipeg for Montreal, the Winnipeg School of Art held a farewell exhibition of 150 of Brandtner’s works.

Brandtner arrived in Montreal in 1934, with an introduction from Fitzgerald to the Montreal art critic, Robert Ayre. Ayre, in turn, introduced him around to other Montreal artists. At an exhibition of his works in 1936, Brandtner met Dr. Norman Bethune. Through Bethune, Brandtner became involved in the Children’s Art Centre and the art program for crippled children at the Children’s Memorial Hospital.Brandtner juggled his art education endeavors, with his own studio time. He painted in oils and watercolour, but also carved linoleum, which he then painted. He worked in a limited palette of blacks, reds and blues. Carving images into linoleum worked for him because, in his words, “linoleum calls up ideas that lead us away from pure representation and towards the abstract..” According to Louis Muhlstock, “The key to Brandtner’s success…is the underlying structure of their semi-abstract design.” Brandtner was a champion of modern art in Canada and his work is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Musée de Québec, Q. City.

Ref:
A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Vol.1, by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks, Ottawa, Revised and expanded, 1997



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Fritz Brandtner (1896-1969)'s Artwork

Seated Figure

Charcoals on paper
Signed
16” x 10”
Private collection, Montreal


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Row houses

Colored inks
Signed
7’ x 9 1/4”


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Reclining Nude

Coloured Inks
Signed
15” x 20”
Private collection, Montreal
Kastel Gallery, Momtreal


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“St-Joseph shine at night”, 1934

mix media on paper
Signed and dated lower right.
14 x 10 ½”


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“Study to Open Window”

Mixed media
Signed
16” x 13”
Private collection, Montreal
Galérie Kastel, Montreal


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Harbour

Watercolours
Signed
18” x 24”
Private collection, Montreal


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Wild Horses

Coloured Inks
Signed
5 3/4” x 6 1/4”
Provenance: Kastel Gallery, Montreal


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Abstraction

Oil on canvas
Signed
40” x 50”
Provenance: Private collection, Montreal


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Composition wit Figure No.58, circa 1935

Oil on panel
Signed;signed and titled on the reverse
9” x 6”


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Standing Male Nude

Gouache on paper
19” x 10”
Signed lower right
Private collection, Montreal


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Abstraction no 18

Oil on panel
Signed;signed on the reverse
6” x 9”


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Three Nudes

Mixed media on paper
Signed centre middle
11” x 14”
Private collection, Montreal


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Untitled

Oil and glass on panel
Signed lower right; Also signed on the reverse
17 1/2” x 15 3/4”
Provenance: Private collection, Montreal
              Kastel Gallery, Montreal


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Dancing Nudes

Mixed media
Signed and dated ‘36 lower right
7 1/2” x 9 1/2”
Private collection Montreal
Kastel Gallery, Montreal


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