Strawalde painting on auction for PHT


An abstract painting by German artistfilmmaker Strawalde capturing sights, smells and sounds of Penang is on auction via online and paper bids. The entire proceeds will go to the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT).

The work titled “Penang I” was done during the 81-year-old artist’s one-month stay at Rebecca Owens’ China Tiger apartments at China Street in Penang this year. It was his very first visit.

The oil-on-canvas painting is on display at the Gehrig Art Gallery from April 29 to June 20. The reserve price is RM150,000 and bidding ends on June 20. The successful bidder will be announced on June 21.

The painting – a vibrant amalgam of figures, facades and fumes – is donated by the Singapore-based museum and art gallery Art Trove, to help fund PHT’s activities. Measuring 175cm x 145cm, it is signed “Strawalde” at the bottom centre.

Strawalde is the pseudonym adopted by Jürgen Bottcher. He was born in Frankenthal/Sachsen in eastern Saxony in the former East Germany but he grew up in the Oberlausitz village of Strahwalde in present-day Herrnhut.

In a “Zur Person” television talk show interview from November 2013, Strawalde reminisced fondly of Strahwalde:

Strawalde had his art tutelage at the Academy of Art in Dresden in 1949-1953 and was mentored by Wilhelm Lachnit, a member of the Dresden Secession Group and co-founder of the New Group in 1925. He taught at the Volkshochscule evening classes in Dresden in 1953-1955 and among his more famous students was A.R. Penck, the former Ralf Winkler.

Because of his rebellious spirit, he was expelled from the Association of Visual Artists in 1961. As a filmmaker, he is best known for “The Wall” (1989-1990), “Drei von vielen” (Three of Many), “Born in ’45” and “A Place In Berlin” (2001). He took a course in film directing at German College of Film Art in Potsdam, Babelsberg, and was a director of documentary films in the Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft (Defa) in 1961-1991.

For his artistic achievements, Strawalde was awarded Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit and France’s Knight of Arts and Literature. His works are collected by reputable institutions such as the National Gallery in Berlin, the Albertina in Vienna, the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the Boston Public Library.

The bidding forms are available at the Penang Heritage Trust office at 26 Lebuh Gereja, Penang, or the Gehrig Art Gallery in the Coffee Atelier at 47-55 Stewart Lane. You can also visit online at, or call 604 264 2631.

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