Johnny Friedlaender

(Pszczyna, 1912 – Paris, 1992)


Johnny Friedlaender: A Life in Etching


Born Gotthard Joachim Friedlaender in 1912 (though some sources say December 26th, others June 21st) in what is now Pszczyna, Poland, Johnny Friedlaender became a leading figure in 20th-century art. His life, however, was marked by the turbulence of the era.

Friedlaender's artistic journey began at the Academy of Arts in Breslau (Wrocław), where he studied under Otto Mueller. By the early 1930s, he had settled in Dresden, Germany, but the rise of the Nazi regime forced him into exile. He found refuge first in Czechoslovakia, then in the Netherlands.

It was in Paris, where he settled in 1937, that Friedlaender truly flourished. He focused on etching, a printmaking technique, and became a master of the art form. His innovative use of color etching set him apart, and his Parisian studio became a gathering place for aspiring artists.

Friedlaender's work explored a variety of themes, but a recurring motif was the human figure, often depicted with a sense of vulnerability and introspection. He also produced large-scale works, like "Les Grands Oiseaux II" (The Great Birds II), a testament to his technical skill and artistic ambition.

Friedlaender's influence extended beyond his etchings. He exhibited widely across Europe, the United States, and Japan, and his gallery in Paris nurtured a generation of artists. He passed away in 1992, leaving behind a rich legacy that continues to inspire printmakers and art lovers today.

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