Bruno Goller, Frauenbildnis mit schwarzer Schleife, 1965, Öl auf Leinwand, , permanent loan from the Federal Office of Administration, Cologne, photo: Reni Hansen


The history of painting in the 20th century has long been interpreted as a competition between schools and styles, overlooking how decisive outsiders can be for the development of art. Despite some parallels between his work and the art of Surrealism and New Objectivity, Bruno Goller also belongs to this group of unconventional mavericks. Born in Gummersbach in 1901 and residing in Düsseldorf since 1927, he spent over seventy years creating a magical world of images that, in contrast to the great contemporary trend of abstraction, is characterized by a clear commitment to representationalism. We recognize houses, clocks, hats, roses, umbrellas, coats and, last but not least, women, who are generally depicted in a typified and strictly formalized manner. Although men occasionally appear in his paintings, it is women who are at the center of his art. In their idol-like presence, however, they are as difficult to grasp and interpret as all the objects they are surrounded by. What deeper meaning brings all the motifs in the picture together? Associative links between the pictorial inventory are certainly possible at certain points, but Goller’s paintings decline to be clearly legible. Ultimately, they refuse to be grasped by the interpreter and it is precisely from this that they gain their radiance: the magic of the enigmatic.



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