Werner Schubert-Deister

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Werner Schubert-Deister (born July 21, 1921 in Hachelbich as Werner Schubert ; † January 14, 1991 in Borsum ) was a German painter and sculptor.


Werner Schubert-Deister was born in 1921 in the Kyffhäuser village of Hachelbich. Between 1937 and 1940 he studied double bass and piano at the music college in Bad Frankenhausen . He was seriously injured in World War II and has suffered from a stiff knee ever since. He continued his music studies in Sondershausen from 1946 to 1949 . Between 1950 and 1952 he attended the Academy of Graphics and Book Art in Leipzig , where he was a student of Professor Elisabeth Voigt , a Käthe Kollwitz student . Between 1952 and 1986 he lived as a freelance painter and graphic artist in Friedrichroda . The construction of the Wall in 1961 ended the acquisition of pictures by art museums such as the West Berlin National Gallery and the contact with West German artists. Visits from the west were not possible again until 1974. A couple who were friends took part of his work to the FRG and in 1978 and 1979 enabled exhibitions in Hamburg , Speyer , Konstanz and Neuburg an der Donau , which Schubert-Deister was unable to visit himself. In 1979, during a renewed visit, his sponsors were arrested for two months by the GDR authorities, which blackmailed the return of the 190 pictures brought to the FRG. His, for the most part inherited, assets of 50,000 marks were confiscated by penal order , and a party functionary, the head of the state forestry company in Gotha (Oberforstrat), had one of his sculptures destroyed. Several exit applications submitted since 1981 have been refused. It was not until 1986 - after intervention by the UN Human Rights Commission - that he was able to move to Borsum near Hildesheim with his wife Christa and his children David (* 1974), Judith (* 1975) and Jonas (* 1981) , where he has been ascetic and lived very hard work. As a politically disillusioned person who saw himself and his work as the only political task, he was also very skeptical about the western side of the Iron Curtain : "Chernobyl can happen in the USA too, I won't eat anyone's hand." Schubert -Deister, who ironically referred to his exile as “ turnip taiga ”, died in 1991 at the age of 69.


Werner Schubert-Deister developed more and more from realism to abstraction , whereby only a few of his pictures are completely non-representational. Since 1960 he has increasingly been creating sculptures, especially sacred works for churches in Gotha ( Bonifatius Church ), Schmalkalden (St. Helena Church), Meiningen (Marienkirche), Erfurt (General Vicariate, Marienstift, Cathedral , Jesuit Church in Erfurt-Hochheim ), Heiligenstadt ( Bergkloster) and other predominantly Thuringian cities. For example, he designed a chapel with a wall cross, an altar , an ambo and a tabernacle in Lengenfeld unterm Stein , commissioned by the St. Elisabeth Catholic Hospital . In his paintings, watercolors , brush and pen drawings, lithographs , monotypes and hardboard prints, which were created using mixed media (acrylic paints, tempera and ink), Schubert-Deister attempted “no aesthetics of the 'ugly'”, instead he went “a path of uncompromising Deepening and consolidation, which cannot be deterred by any objections on the clear and self-confident path. Nowhere does he throw the noble cloak of the ordered repeal over conflicts, over painful-absurd opposites. ” Standing in radical contradiction to the prescribed socialist realism , he thematized violence, war, environmental destruction, the imperfection of man (exhibition Imperfect World , 1979), the futility of Striving for perfection and world domination as well as a distrust of the promises of technology and medicine ( Contergan family , accident victim , landscape of conscience / Seveso poisoning ). Several paintings were created to the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen . The Munich journalist Karl Grüner, who supported him after leaving Germany, describes the years between 1974 and 1978 as the artistic zenith. Schubert-Deister's artistic unconditionality is also shown in the fact that he never pursued (secondary) commercial purposes. He gave away several Jesus sculptures and pictures with the note that Jesus had been sold by Judas , that was enough!


The Federal Association of Visual Artists presented paintings by Schubert-Deister in the Hildesheim Museum, and there were larger exhibitions in the Josephinum Hildesheim high school . Part of the artistic estate is now in public ownership, including in the National Gallery in Berlin , the Dresden State Art Collections , the Städel on Frankfurt's Museumsufer , the Hamburger Kunsthalle , the palace museums in Gotha and Sondershausen.

The sacred works from the chapel in Lengenfeld unterm Stein were made available in 2006 by the Schubert-Deister family on permanent loan to a memorial chapel in the small Mexican town of Sonoyta , which commemorates the Jesuit father Heinrich Ruhen , who was born in Borsum . A winged altar made of various metals is given to a chapel in the Argentine province of Misiones .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gert Weber: Against forgetting - To the death of Werner Schubert-Deisters , Thüringische Landeszeitung (TLZ), February 13, 1991
  2. Karl Grüner: Cross - epitome of his hope (obituary), Day of the Lord, 6/91
  3. a b Heinz-Rudolf Othmerding (dpa): “Here, too, I won't eat anyone's hand” , Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung, January 22, 1987
  4. Karl Grüner: "I have thousands of pictures in my head" , ZENIT, 4/89
  5. "Bishop Hugo Aufderbeck, who valued the artist very much, had him design the chapel in the Vicariate General in Erfurt and commissioned him to sculpt the crypt and cloister of the Erfurt Cathedral." In: Karl Grüner Kreuz - Epitome of His Hope (Obituary ), Day of the Lord, 6/91
  6. a b Hans-Theo Wiechens: Art by W. Schubert-Deister decorates the chapel in Mexico , Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung, undated (approx. 2004 ... 2006)
  7. Peter Abspacher: "Imperfect World" aesthetic , Neuburger Rundschau, August 3, 1979
  8. https://web.archive.org/web/20160510095739/http://home.arcor.de/karlgruener/aquarell.htm
  9. ^ Vido Voigt: TV report , Bayerischer Rundfunk, 1986
  10. Hans-Theo Wiechens: Altar goes on a journey , Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung, September 29, 2007

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