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Painting is another of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's secondary interests that has developed into something rather more than just a hobby. His interest in painting goes back to his childhood, but he says that he didn't begin to paint seriously until around 1960. As is the case with his other activities, Fischer-Dieskau has proven to be a prolific painter, but this remained largely hidden from the public until 1980, when some of his paintings were displayed for the first time in an exhibition in Bamberg.
That he was interested in painting became known to the English-speaking public for the first time through Gerald Moore's memoirs, AM I TOO LOUD?, and the public's first glimpse of Fischer-Dieskau the painter was most likely the portrait of Gerald Moore that was included in the liner notes of the EMI recording of Moore's farewell concert in 1967.
Subsequently, record collectors encountered a series of Fischer-Dieskau's watercolors that served as cover art for DG's series of reissued recordings in honor of Fischer-Dieskau's 60th birthday in 1985.
Since his exhibition debut in 1980, Fischer-Dieskau's paintings have been displayed frequently in Germany, Austria, France, and Japan. The most recent exhibition was in June 2000 at the Galerie Dietz in Potsdam.
The intellectual curiosity, versatility, and productivity that characterize Fischer-Dieskau in the other aspects of his artistic life are also present in his painting. He works in a variety of media (ink, watercolor, pastel, oil, acrylic), in both representational and non-representational forms, and in a variety of styles. Those who have seen his work have especially remarked on his striking portraits, including those of Sviatoslav Richter, Alfred Brendel, and Julia Varady, but there are also landscapes, and many abstract works where the emphasis is on line and color.
In addition, there are many self-portraits, going back as far as an early drawing of himself as a 16-year-old. His own models, inspriations, and favorites among painters range widely: Moreau, Courbet, Klee, Beckmann, Janssen, and Gerhard Richter, to name just a few. When asked, as he frequently is, about the connection between his painting and his music, he tends to minimize it, seeing painting as an art that appeals to entirely different senses and calls upon a different aspect of his artistic personality, yet quite a number of his paintings have musical themes.
Those who see Fischer-Dieskau's paintings may be attracted or repelled by them, but anyone who sees them must be convinced of the seriousness of his devotion to this art. He is, as art historian Werner Spiess observed, anything but a "Sunday painter." But who would have expected anything different?
herausgegeben von: © Monika Wolf, 1999-2020
translations and compilations: © Celia A. Sgroi, January 2004