Norbert Schwontkowski born in 1949 in Bremen, he is just a few years younger than Anselm Kiefer. Whilst there are some similiarities in the two artists work, Schwontkowski imbues his works with a sense of humour (and sometimes melancholy) stressing the importance of the unconscious and the surreal.
Schwontkowski captures a subject so deftly that sublimity and whimsy seem compatible. Deploying complicated, precisely chosen colors (he ground his own pigments) and a graceful, pseudo-naive line, he creates compositions closer to Milton Avery than to the bravura painters so firmly identified with Germany, from the Neo-Expressionists of the 1980s to Neo Rauch and his Leipzig colleagues.
Schwontkowski’s range of subjects and techniques is broad, but there are repeated motifs. A slightly flattened, stemmed orb appears as onion domes, thought bubbles and, in the ballooning black head of the hapless figure.
His complex style of painting, covering a broad palette, combined humour and melancholy, and
Schwontkowski’s work is part of numerous collections in Germany, including the Burger Collection in Berlin and the Städtische Galerie in Buntentor, Bremen.
He exhibited widely until his early death in 2013 throughout Europe and the US. His first exhibition in New York also included works by Philip Guston, Alex Katz and pablo Picasso.
He was professor of painting and drawing at Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst, Bremen as well as other teaching posts prior to this.