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Jochen Seidel

(1924 - 1971)
Jochen Seidel was born in 1924 in the German industrial town of Bitterfeld. He was the son of an engineer, and counted several artists among his extended family.

In 1941 he was drafted into the army. After a brief period of imprisonment he returned in 1945 to the newly-formed German Democratic Republic. He enrolled in the art school Burg Giebichenstein in Halle, where he studied painting with Charles Crodel. He did not finish, instead leaving school to earn a living painting propaganda murals for the East German government.

He belonged to a circle of friends around the painter Hermann Bachmann, which included Otto Müller, Karl-Erich Müller and Willi Sitte. Like many artists in East Germany at the time he came under pressure to abandon modernism and adhere to propagandistic works. To preserve his artistic freedom and integrity, he followed Bachmann to West Berlin in 1953. He resumed his artistic studies, this time with Ernst Schumacher.

At this time Seidel began to break from representational painting, when he had “given up dependence of color and planes on the subject, and worked solely with the dynamics and composition of colors in a field-like organization of the painting square.”

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