Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern

Lithuania, 1892-1982

Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern occupies a vital position in the territory of Outsider Art. Born in East Prussia in 1892, Schröder-Sonnenstern experienced a difficult childhood, and what is known of his adult life is complicated by speculation. He is reported to have lived under the pseudonym of Dr. Eliot Gnass von Sonnenstern, an quack doctor who defrauded wealthy clients, and who shared his profit with the poor. Scholar Pamela Kort claims 1949 as the start of his activity as an artist. Schröder-Sonnenstern’s enigmatic, highly erotic drawings became known to Surrealist artists living in postwar Paris, who exhibited his work with their own. Schröder-Sonnenstern drew first in graphite, but quickly shifted to working prolifically in colored pencil on board. His fantastical images featuring monstrous women and their fleshy male consorts are marked by a paradoxical lyricism that often seems at odds with his bluntly erotic inquiry. Replete with demons, skeletons, and all manners of outrageous creatures Schröder Sonnenstern’s work bears the stamp of societal parody.

Source: Outsider Art Fair