An artist who mixed with Picasso and Matisse in Paris, but enjoyed his most productive spell in Aberdeen, has an exhibition opened in his memory this week.
Art and Soul: The Work of Hermann Gross runs from Monday, March 12 until April 26 at the University of Aberdeen's Marischal Museum. A painter and sculptor, Gross (1904-1988) trained as a gold-and-silver-smith in Stuttgart and Berlin before moving to Paris in 1926, where, along with Picasso and Matisse, he was part of the thriving and influential art scene.
His most productive period, however, occurred whilst working as artist-in-residence at Camphill School in Aberdeen after being invited to the Granite City by Karl König, the founder of the Camphill Movement. Previously, Gross spent the post-War years in the USA.
Neil Curtis, Senior Curator in the University's Marischal Museum said, "The time is long overdue for Hermann Gross's great talents as a painter and sculptor to be generally recognised.
"He lived in the children's community as artist-in-residence from 1963 until his death in 1988, and made a significant contribution to the community's understanding of art by ensuring that art-making was accessible and visible and not some precious and exclusive activity.
"We have been fortunate to have been able to display works by Gross in the University's School of Education to mark its association with the Camphill Community, but until now there has been no public exhibition of his work."
After Gross's return to Berlin in 1935, his skills led him to being conscripted into the Luftwaffe propaganda unit in Paris. There he witnessed and was indirectly complicit in, the wholesale plundering of the artistic heritage of the city he loved by his own countryman.
"It must have had a huge psychological effect on him," added Mr Curtis. "He would have found it hard to bear that his own work and that of the artists he most admired – Matisse, Picasso, Braque - were regarded as degenerate by the Nazi authorities."
Robin Jackson of the Hermann Gross Trustees added, "We are delighted that an opportunity has arisen to display the work of this unique and talented artist who, whilst living in Paris, was part of one of the most dynamic and influential communities in the history of art."
An article on the life and work of Hermann Gross by Robin Jackson will appear in the next issue of Aberdeen University Review.