Johnny Friedlaender

German / French 1912-1992


“I jot down my fleeting ideas in the form of numerous sketches and, as if for a musical score, they continue to be worked out.”

—Johnny Friedlaender


Just sixteen when he enrolled at the Breslau Art Academy, Johnny Friedlaender studied under masters Otto Mueller—a member of the famous German Expressinist artist’s group known as Die Brucke—and Carlo Mense of the New Objectivity school. Already at this time Friedlaender was working in lithography and etching, the techniques for which he would become renowned.


Moving to Dresden in 1930, Friedlaender exhibited his work at Galerie J Sandel and at the Dresden Art Museum. His first one-man show of etchings was held at Moravska Ostrava, Czechoslovakia where he had emigrared after spending two years in a Nazi concentration camp. He eventually settled in Paris where he exhibited his etchings at L’Eqquipe and Matieres et Formes—shows opposing Nazi ideology, sponsored by art critic and historian Gaston Diehl.


Friedlaender, who became a French citizen in 1950, travelled, worked and exhibited throughout Europe, Asia and North America. In 1957, he received the Biennial Kakamura Prize in Tokyo, and in 1959 was awarded a post by UNESCO at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro.


A retrospective of Friedlaender’s works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 1978. Three years later, he was awarded the Louis Corinth Prize in Regensburg. Retrospectives to celebrate his 75th and 80th birthdays were held in Germany at the Biemen Art Museum and in the civic offices of Bonn.