Grace Kelly V-2. 1990. Acrylic on panel. Verso signed and dated. Individual wooden elements verso inscribed "A" to "E". 249 x 169,5 cm (98 x 66,7 in). [KP].
Klaus Wolf Knoebel was born on 31 December 1940, spent his childhood near Dresden and moved with his family to Mainz in 1950. In 1962-64, while attending the Werkkunstschule in Darmstadt, he took part in Constructivist and structural composition courses modelled on the idea of the preliminary courses taught by Johannes Itten and Lászlo Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus. There he met Rainer Giese, both adopted the first name Imi, a shortening the friends used as a farewell. Fascinated by Joseph Beuys's teaching, they transferred to the Düsseldorf Art Academy in 1964, where they contrasted to the other Beuys' students. In 1968 Knoebel created his first important work, the installation 'Raum 19', named after classroom 19 at the academy, which Beuys made available to the students. Already then Knoebel studied the relationship between space, picture support and color in analytical series. He was indebted to a second guiding spirit, Kasimir Malevich, for the idea of reduction of a painting to its elemental co-ordinates. Following on purist linear pictures, light projections and white pictures (1972-75), Knoebel first used color in 1974.
In addition to one-man shows in museums, including Düsseldorf (1975), Winterthur and Bonn (1983) as well as Hamburg (1992), Knoebel has also participated in major group shows such as documenta 5, 6, 7 and 8. The Haus der Kunst in Munich mounted a large retrospective of his work in 1996. His radical, present and remarkably stringent oeuvre will be subject of a new retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg beginning in October 2014.