Last Thursday I took little diva NJD to the Burj Al Arab to go through the world’s largest atlas plus get up, close and personal with the Aston Martin which is creating raves around the globe at the moment and to meet with Kurt, who promotes amazing art in UAE through the initiative, Swiss Art Gate UAE. I have been to see the works of a number of artists Kurt has brought to the UAE and Tash and I both loved what we saw at the World Luxury Expo in Burj Al Arab where Kurt had a number of paintings on display by George Classen.
George Classen, born 1942 in Lübben/Berlin, an early devotee of Albrecht Duerer, started his first graphic exercises by copying the famous engravings of the old german master from Nuremberg at the age of 7. It did not take him long, though, to indulge in his very own imaginative ideas, which he up to the present time did not cease to cherish and refine even further unto its most sublime limits. He was inspired by brilliant artworks of Picasso, Klimt and other masters of that time, but well-considered not to copy them, but to transform the inspiring impact to his own, unique style.
At the age of 13 he discovered his second passion, classical music, which from then on continued to dominate his search for perfection in the visual arts. The premature death of his father, however, annihilated the dream of pursuing a professional career in music and so one passion passed into the other. His obsession with music is well reflected in his very individualistic approach to the structure of his visual compositions. Circumstances demanded George Classen to leave West-Berlin for Frankfurt in pursue of a family-supporting profession with an american airline, however, he never abandoned his prime aim to serve the fine arts.
Exhibitions in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich encouraged the artist in the late seventies, to exclusively dedicate his time and talent to painting alone, which decision became substantially enhanced and supported by his wife Eva, who in turn guided him to seek out for new impulses, motivation and inspiration and advised him of his abilities and failings. Upon Eva’s enthusing George about Canada, where few of her family members were living, their honeymoon led them there in 1979. This journey should become a deciding turning point in their life.
Classen, at this time calling himself as a nervous and unsettled person, has been befallen of an, by then never known – absolute peace of mind in the north of Ontario. He experienced, as he is naming it, an initial experience, which let both to relocate from the Isar to the Ontario Lake. Classen sent photos to interested places, where they had been so enthusiastc about his skills, that they invited him to Toronto in order to make a test-exhibition at the First Canadian Place. This perfect and very lucrative place let the artist encouraged to keep on reforming his already unique style, which by now endures, unperturbed by mainstream influences, as his own.
George Classen’s passion for music let the Toronto Galerist Kuchinski to commission a great series of paintings representing scenes of the grand operas of Giuseppe Verdi under the title “Hommage to Verdi”. On November 9 in 1989, when the fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized a drastic change for the whole world, George Classen’s long time desire to go back to his very own cultural roots started to take shape and resulted to his return to Germany in 1991. However, his new cultural environment in the eleven years of stay in North America enriched his artistic development though never neglecting his origins of European culture and his passionate love for 19th and early 20th century classical music.
In 2003, a family case of illness led George Classen and his wife Eva, who was born there, to Wels/Austria. The planned few months ended up in a permanent stay up to now due to various successful exhibitions in offical places as well as in his several art studios where he experienced the acceptance of the public. His very special style, that can absolutely cast a spell on the audience can draw the attention of people from very different heritage.
It seems that nowadays, with his 69 years, George forfeit nothing of his energy and motivation. Classic music always on his side, of course. More information about the artist and his work:www.georgeclassen.at or if you are in the UAE, speak with Kurt…he is friendly, sweet and always has a bowl of swiss chocolates on hand as you look through the paintings…I reckon that’s why Tash was so keen on going back to look at the paintings again 🙂