Artist biography

German painter, collagist, printmaker and photographer. He studied briefly and in 1913 began to make Expressionist woodcuts. From 1915 to 1920 he lived in Zurich and Geneva, where he was associated with the Dada movement. He continued creating woodcuts but also made reliefs, paintings and collages from newspaper cuttings. At the same time he became interested in abstracting photography and using it in a more metaphoric way. In 1918, while living in Geneva, he created his first ‘schadographs', contact prints of collages and objects on photosensitive paper. These cameraless photographs reproduced the negative image of the textures placed on them, creating a new form of representation.

Schad left Switzerland in 1920 for Italy, where he spent five years. He subsequently went to Vienna and later, in 1928, settled in Berlin. In 1921 he began to paint in a sober, realistic style later referred to as Neue sachlichkeit. Schad's paintings display his interest in the relationship of the individual to society, conveying a sense of isolation and alienation.

Schad did not employ caricature. Instead he criticised the structures of society by coolly and uncompromisingly depicting every detail of his subjects and their surroundings, and by revealing the distance and emptiness between them. After the destruction of his studio in 1943 Schad moved to Aschaffenburg. The city commissioned him to copy Grünewald's Virgin (Stuppach, parish church), a project on which he worked until 1947. Schad continued to paint in the 1950s in Magic Realist style and returned in the 1960s to experiments with photograms.

M. Osborn: Der Maler Christian Schad (Berlin, 1927)
Christian Schad (exh. cat. by R. Tassi, Milan, Pal. Reale, 1972)
Schadographien, 1918–1975 (exh. cat., Wuppertal, von der Heydt-Mus., 1975)
Christian Schad (exh. cat., ed. M. Eberle; W. Berlin, Staatl. Ksthalle, 1980)
German Art in the 20th Century (exh. cat., ed. C. M. Joachimedes, N. Rosenthal and W. Schmied; London, RA, 1985), pp. 38–40, 143–4, 452–4, 498
Christian Schad, 1894–1982 (exh. cat., Passau, Oberhaus Mus., 1989)


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