The German sculptor and painter was born in Cologne in 1934 as the son of an old-established family of craftsmen. He initially learned a trade but then found his own artistic path from 1979 onwards.
At first, he created still lifes in oil and pastel as well as portraits in bronze of celebrities such as Franz Josef Strauß or Herbert von Karajan. Later he focused mainly on animal motifs, in which he particularly emphasised the typical character of each species. As a remarkable autodidact, Kurt Arentz has found his very own artistic language of form. Beyond academic experiments, but also far from all naturalistic platitudes, he formed symbols of vital nature with his hands. His ideals of a still intact world transport us, as it were, into the wild. Arentz abstracted the animal as a being in itself. In doing so, he succeeded in placing his works in an era of timeless validity.
Kurt Arentz used a special silicone-rubber process for his works, which allowed him to realise his ideas immediately. The bronze cast was then signed with the artist's very own signature. In the final work step, the surfaces of the metal are polished, roughened or patinated and thus receive their motif-typical characteristics.
The sculptor has already presented his works to a large audience in numerous exhibitions in Germany and France. On his 70th birthday on 30th May 2004, Kurt Arentz was congratulated by former chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl and former president of Germany Roman Herzog. Arentz was used to receiving frequent acknowledgements and tributes from celebrities: Other fellow statesmen such as Willy Brandt, Ronald Reagan or George Bush senior, but also Sir Peter Ustinov and Willy Millowitsch had their portraits painted by Kurt Arentz.
Nevertheless, Kurt Arentz's great mastery is evident in his animal sculptures. He is regarded worldwide as one of the most important animal sculptors of the 20th century. In 2001, Arentz was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his artistic and social commitment. His sculptures can be found, for example, in the White House, Washington, and in the Museum of European Art in New York.
Like no other, he succeeded in reaching the very essence of the animal and depicting it. The great popularity of these nature studies is based on their strong expressiveness, but also on their carefree cheerfulness: Arentz's creative energy is joy in life.
Kurt Arentz last lived and worked in Leverkusen. He passed away in June 2014.