Drawing Inward: German Surrealist Richard Oelze

June 19 – August 26, 2012


Richard Oelze (1900–1980) was a self-proclaimed Surrealist who trained at the Bauhaus in Germany, was recognized by the Parisian circle of Surrealists as a kindred spirit, and was included in MoMA’s 1936 landmark exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism. He has since fallen into relative obscurity on both sides of the Atlantic.

This exhibition highlights the contemporary appeal of Oelze’s work by featuring drawings and sketches of imaginary landscapes, fantastic objects, and figures that he drew in the years following World War II. Organized by the University Art Gallery at Colorado State University, Drawing Inward reveals how Oelze plumbed the depths of the conscious and unconscious mind through visual experimentation. The exhibition also sheds light on a rare, early landscape drawing by Oelze from the Smart Museum’s collection.


Eleanor Moseman, Professor of Art History, Colorado State University. The Smart Museum’s presentation is overseen by Richard A. Born, Smart Museum Senior Curator.

Top: Richard Oelze, Untitled, 1925, Graphite and black and white chalk on wove paper. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Anonymous gift in memory of W.A. Peterhans, 2009.17.
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