Triangles, rectangles, squares, and colors: Peter Freudenthal
Lithograph, “Komposition”, signed, by P. Freudenthal, size: 9″ w x 11″ h, 1979
Peter Freudenthal was born 1938 in Norrköping, Sweden. He grew up in a multicultural and cosmopolitan environment where the jewish tradition was intermixed with the European, and where cultural activities played an important role. Freudenthal studied among others Art, Art History, Archeology and Ethnography, which gave him the possibility to visit and to work with different cultures that have inspired him in his art. An example is 1962 when he worked as archeologist in Wadi-Halfa in northern Sudan and got inspiration for his first abstract paintings Serra I, II and III with impressions from Sudanese architecture. The explanation to these works were hidden until the artist clarified their meaning.
During the fifties Freudenthal painted only figurative (landscapes, cottages and portraits) which never, according to the artist were shown for the public. It was through meeting with his mentor, the Swedish artist Olle Bærtling, with his concrete art and open form that Freudenthal began to change his style to a more abstract and geometric one. Through Bærtling, he came in contact with open form, as impressionists already used at that time, but unlike Bærtling, Freudenthal works with squares and rectangles and with an emphasized three dimensionality. Freudenthal tells that Bærtling was very rational and advised him to leave all jewish themes and to concentrate on something else. “but I”, says Freudenthal, ” stressed a lot in order to do the contrary. I has always been old day’s and not an avantgard as Bærtling wanted that I should be. I like my motives from the jewish culture.“ Something what Freudenthal and Baertling were unanimous about, is an assertion that Bærtling did in his prologue from a manifesto to open form: “the art should be an expression for the people’s spiritual lives”.” art in itself is a spiritual activity ” says Freudenthal. At the end of the seventies Freudenthals work resembled the art that Kasimir Malevitch created in the form of diagonal colour fields that were placed in different tracks. An example on this influence we find today in Freudenthals last exhibition, with a painting with the name Kasimirs forest, where the artist aluded to Kasimir Malevitch who was the only in the nineteenhundreds to work with free geometric shapes flying in their own room along with Frantisek Kupka. Peter Freudenthal since his first exhibition in 1966 in Gallery Maxim in Stockholm, has had exhibitions in Sweden and the USA and has participated in 50 collective exhibitions in Europe, Israel and the USA, in museums like the Modern Art Museum in New York, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, in the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles, the Jewish Museum in New York, etc.