Portrait of the artist Kurt Arentz

Kurt Arentz


The German sculptor and painter was born in 1934 in Cologne, as the son of an old-established Bergisch artisan family. 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 emphasising the typical character of each species. As a remarkable self-taught artist, Kurt Arentz found his very own artistic form concept. Beyond academic experiments, but also far from all naturalistic platitudes, he shaped symbols of vital nature with his hands. His ideals of a still-intact world transport us as if into the wilderness. Arentz abstracted the animal as a being in itself. In doing so, he succeeded in placing his works in an era of timeless validity.

For his works, Kurt Arentz used a special silicone rubber process that allowed for the immediate realisation of his ideas. The bronze cast was then signed with the artist's very own signature. In the final work step, the surfaces of the metal were polished, roughened or patinated, thus acquiring 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 May 30, 2004, Kurt Arentz was congratulated by former chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl and former German President 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 Sr., as well as 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 considered one of the most significant 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 are housed in places such as the White House, Washington, and 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 lies in their strong expressiveness, but also in their carefree cheerfulness: Arentz's creative energy is joy in life.

Kurt Arentz lived and worked in Leverkusen. He passed away in June 2014.

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