Kastel Gallery

Fritz Brandtner (1896-1969)

COMING SOON
From the estate of Paul Kastel
A preview of our upcoming online exhibition of selected works by Fritz Brandtner.  Paul Kastel, was known throughout Canada and other parts of the globe as a prominent, well respected and knowledgeable art dealer and gallery owner which spanned for close to 60 years. No one understood the intellect and the creative genius of Fritz Brandtner better than Paul Kastel. Paul understood and supported Brandtner during his entire lifetime and never cared about the monetary gain, rather he had comfort in knowing  collectors all over the world learn and eventually appreciate Fritz Brandtner - “the man, the artist, the genius” who demonstrated in his creations that he  was way ahead of his time and  is credited with bringing Expressionism to the Canadian audience. Brandtner’s works can be found in many private and corporate collections and a large representation of works are part of the permanent collection of The National Gallery of Canada

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

Abstraction

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

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


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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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“Annunciation”

Ink and watercolour
Signed with initials lower right; titled on a label on the reverse
7 1/2” x 6””
Provenance: Estate of Paul Kastel, 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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Row houses

Colored inks
Signed
7’ x 9 1/4”


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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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