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A Pictorial Dialogue


Werner Lichtner-Aix & Katharina Lichtner

Over the past 30 years following the death of the artist in 1987, the Musée-Atelier Werner Lichtner-Aix has focused on the artist’s versatile oeuvre with various thematic exhibitions. The current exhibition is now focusing for the first time on a pictorial dialogue between father Werner and his daughter, the painter Katharina Lichtner.

When Werner Lichtner-Aix (1939 – 1987) arrived in Provence in the mid-1960s, he was fascinated by the light and colours of this cultural landscape in ochre and blue.
In his initial years he produced pictures of impetuous, powerful spontaneity, which culminated in the middle of the 70s in the ‘Mistral Paintings’. Images of expressive mosaics of colour, of dancing fields of colour emancipated from reality. During this time he came to grasp Paul Cézanne’s idea of art being a ‘harmony in parallel with nature’. “It does not mean seeing the actual event or measuring oneself against it, but allowing oneself to be inspired to sometimes create something completely different.” The range of modulation is broad, but it remains bound to the earth, sky and light. “Sometimes you quickly reach the limits and then you have to go back. There’s no such thing as an absolute picture.”

Ten years later these hard colour transitions dissolve, and the boundary between the sky and the earth becomes indistinguishable – ‘Apollonian landscapes’ (Rainer Beck).


This reduction to the essential establishes a link to the pictures of Katharina Lichtner (born in 1969). The principle of returning to the source with the means of colour also applies to her. “I look at the world, at things through a small hole in a piece of cardboard, and what I see loses its thingness, and is just a detail or fragment – a patch, a line. And yet the fragment remains the whole.” Painting is dominated by these patches and lines, fragments of colour that alternate between delicate hints and powerful concentrations of colour. The pictures remain intentionally sketchy and open.

When Werner Lichtner-Aix writes, “The landscape as a pretext for releasing colour. Sky, for me, is the experience of colour, just that,” Katharina Lichtner falls back on ‘inner landscapes’, intuitively placing colour on bare canvases. With titles like ‘Fragment of Heaven’ or ‘Patches Perching like Birds’, she roots her pictures in a certain reality and encourages the viewer to play with associations. “In what is foreign I begin to see.”

And so the viewer’s gaze oscillates between the opposites of colour and light, reality and poetry.
In apictorial dialogue.

Katharina Lichtner - biographical details -

Born in Munich on a Friday in 1969
1987 University entrance qualification
1988-1991 Nürnberg Academy of Fine Arts
1991-1994 Munich Academy of Fine Arts

I was born in Munich in 1969 and grew up in a village in southern France, exposed to the smell of
dry stones and turpentine in my father’s studio. My childhood and youth came to an end on
obtaining my university entrance qualification and with the death of my father in 1987.

In 1988 I began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nürnberg, transferring three years later to
the academy in Munich, where I completed my studies in 1994. I then spent a year working in India
and China. The colourfulness (India) and the characters, especially those of the old tombstones,
inspired me and left a lasting impression.

Initially, drawing and painting constituted walking an inner path for a long time, and for me this
meant working in a studio withdrawn from the outside world. Working as a freelance graphic artist
gives me this freedom. I appreciate the multi-faceted confrontation with the most varied subjects,
dialogue, and the development of purpose-bound solutions. And yet I do everything with an eye or
feeling directed by colour and line. So when I develop a logo, I do it as a draughtsperson or even as
a sculptor. When I decide on the colour moods for a book, I do this as a painter.

From the beginning, drawing was mainly line and rhythm – narrative and descriptive. It was not until
a few years later that painting, i.e. colour, grew in importance. Line was supplemented with spots
and fields of colour. The object, the perceived, is a point of departure not the subject. It is often the
little things in the margins that make me pause and find their place or, better, their correspondence
in my pictures – as fragments, structures and colour tones. But I am also concerned with attempts
to reduce the comprehended to the essential. Using colour to return to the source, to ‘inner
landscapes’. “I look at the world, at things through a small hole in a piece of cardboard, and what I
see loses its thingness, and is just a detail or fragment – a patch, a line. And yet the fragment
remains the whole.”

Since 2009 occasional exhibitions and participation in trade fairs (Art Karlsruhe).
My biography as an artist actually consists of my pictures, drawings and figures. “In what is foreign I
begin to see.”

A Pictorial Dialogue
Werner Lichtner-Aix & Katharina Lichtner

2 MAI – 12 OCTOBRE 2019