The Karl Stengel Collection Florence
A permanent exhibition space for the paintings and drawings by Karl Stengel at Palazzo Rosselli del Turco
by appointment only
Monday to Friday, from 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm
To book a visit, please call: +39 0550516161
Via dei Serragli 17 Florence, Tuscany
Opening Stengel Collection in Florence
Karl Stengel has lived through important and dramatic periods in the history of 20th century art. Born in 1925 in Novi Sad, on the banks of the Danube, from his early childhood he had the impulse to “have to” draw and was strongly attracted by the contrast of black and white. After the war and the years in the Russian prison camp, a long time passed before a middle class student could be admitted to an art academy. It was the period of Socialist Realism, a style imposed by the Soviet Communist Party. There was no room for artistic individualism, or to seek one’s own possibilities, expressive style, or creativity. Upon the arrival of the Soviet tanks with the occupation of Hungary in 1956, Karl Stengel fled to Monaco in Germany. At the Akademie der Schönen Künste, he was surprised – and not in a positive way – by the lightness with which his young colleagues took to abstract modernism, especially after the dominant artistic expression extorted by Hitler. Again, he could not see the way to follow his path with sincerity. He was unable to follow his impulse “to have to paint” for almost two decades. Then the strong call of the voices that wanted to be expressed and painted, resurfaced, together with the desire to see and hear what others hadn’t seen, even if it was in front of them.
Karl worked as an art teacher in Germany and on retirement lived and painted between his homes in Germany and Loro Ciuffenna near Arezzo. His works are divided into two major groups: the large canvases dominated by color, of strong emotional and lyrical abstract expressionist impact, that have their roots sunk in post-war American and European informel experimentation and in some pre-war Russian avant-garde art. The more surreal representations often of a smaller size on paper, have a more markedly European ancestry, in particular German Expressionism, and may for example, express a faceless male figure on stage. Music and literature were of great importance to Karl and references to them can often be seen in his works.
Karl Stengel passed away in his beloved Tuscan countryside, 25 June 2017.
Palazzo Rosselli del Turco
Via dei Serragli, 17 50124 Firenze
Free admission by appointment only / Ingresso libero solo su appuntamento
To book a visit call +39 0550516161 / Per prenotare una visita telefonare allo 0550516161