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Artist of Reference

The Creative Commpassion artist of reference is a European artist, art teacher and musician who was an early pioneer of Modernism. The reference pictures chosen from his rich body of art are from his late works. They are abstract pastels created and composed from inner sensing

Abstraction is interactive. It is the viewer (not the artist) who reveals layers of meaning coming from the artpiece freshly. Abstract lines, forms and shapes are not linked to symbolic associations. No figurative experience is standing in the way between the viewer and the art piece they are contemplating on

Abstracts offer a space of freedom. They encourage to find out about new ways of perceiving, feeling and sensing. They open up to aesthetic interaction and enhance a sense of personal integrity

Following the Traces of a Pioneer - Artist, Art Teacher and Musician Adolf Hölzel

Starting to express myself in abstract ways I noticed unconscious "hölzeln" (a term Adolf Hölzel used for art work of his students trying to copy his style) even though I had not known Hölzel's body of art at that time.

Reflecting what seemed to be coincidence I found that colorful forms, shapes and lines either curved or straight, are essential. They are symbolizations of contradictious life principles (metaphor of cirle and ladder as dichotomous orientations towards the world)

Creative Compassion - Artist Hölzel

Hölzel has taught composititon and color didactics at art academy instead of correcting students' artwork. He invited to experiment with composition and was willing to learn from his students. His innovative teaching style makes him a perfect reference artist to train with

Hölzel's Intermodal Sense

Adolf Hölzel was the first artist who put visuals and music in conjunction. He composed his artwork from color triads following muscial theories of triads in music. For him each color represents a musical tone. Adolf Hölzel combined colors and complementary colors in such a way that his visual arts show harmony alike harmonic triad sounds. To complete a picture he shifted from painting to music and vice versa to find specific tones the picture was missing in color. According to Hölzel the artist is a composer in service and not an agent creating by his own wil. - 'A picture wants to be painted, not I will go and paint a picture' (Adolf Hölzel)

from <> translated with

Piano piece composed to Adolf Hölzel's Color Composition I, 02:16-02:39 ©

View Adolf Hölzel >> Composition I ©Picture Gallery Dachau

English translation of the audioguide "Sound of Colors"

Hölzel's Sound of Colors - Audioguide Transcript ©FOCUSZART Freda Blob
PDF – 72,0 KB 55 Downloads

(...) Adolf Hölzel attracted widespread attention in the 1880s and early 1890s with naturalistic genre and landscape paintings in stylistic proximity to Wilhelm Leibl. As an art teacher, he achieved great recognition with the private painting school he founded in Dachau in 1892. Influences of Impressionism and Art Nouveau characterize his painting at the turn of the century

Hölzel developed color theories and compositional doctrines, but he saw their limits in the "sensation". He evokes this himself, for example, through dreamlike states, drawing with his eyes closed for a time after waking up. To this he proclaimed: "The law in art is the formula gained from the sensation". Thus Hölzel was one of the first artists to recognize the unconscious as a potential for the visual arts

It was not until the 1920s that the Surrealists around André Breton used similar methods in their preferred "écriture automatique." From 1905, with his appointment to the Stuttgart Art Academy, Hölzel's art changed in the sense of a theoretically underpinned approach to abstraction - of which he was one of the actual founders

Inspired by the two-dimensional and color-intensive painting of the French artist group Nabis, co-founded by Paul Gauguin, he increasingly created abstracted figure compositions with increased color intensity

Adolf Hölzel, who also plays the violin, strives for an absolute painting with differentiated color harmony, following the ideal of music and its harmony theory: "We must be color composers: componere means to put together. My life belongs to color and its artistic compositions." The painting thus modulated could be more rhythmic and geometric in some cases, representational and narrative in others

A pioneer of abstraction and an innovative art educator, Adolf Hölzel became one of the most influential teachers of his time. His students at the Stuttgart Art Academy included Oskar Schlemmer, Johannes Itten, Ida Kerkovius, and Willi Baumeister. Johannes Itten's teaching at the Weimar Bauhaus was largely based on Hölzel's theory of color and form

from: Art Museum Erfurt, Hölzel Exhibition 07.12.2019 - 10.20.2019, translated with

Adolf Hölzel and the Bauhaus

Hölzel's work and teachings focused on the elementary power of artistic means of form, colour and lines. He supported and exhibited young Expressionists of his time. He had impact on artists of the The Blue Rider and on master teachers of the Bauhaus School

The Bauhaus School of Arts and Crafts was a school for architectur, design and arts founded by Walter Gropius in 1919

Two former students of Adolf Hölzel, Johannes Itten (teaching from 1919 till 1923) and Oskar Schlemmer (teaching from 1920 till 1929) were groundbreakig and formative for the Bauhaus movement

It was Johannes Itten who developed the Bauhaus preliminary course: "In 1918, building on his studies with Adolf Hölzel at the art academy in Stuttgart, Johannes Itten ran his own private art school in Vienna. At the Weimar State Bauhaus, he devised a contemporary method of teaching based on insights gained from the progressive educational movement and the artistic avant-garde", from: <>

The ideas of Bauhaus Art were developed further by artists such as:

  • Lyonel Feininger (teacher from 1920 till 1929)

  • Paul Klee (1920-1931)

  • Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1923 -1928)

  • Wassily Kandinsky ( 1923 till 1933)

  • Josef Albers (1923-1933)

After the Bauhaus school was closed in 1933 many of the Bauhaus teachers had to emigrate. Their influence on modern architecture, design, arts and art pedagogy became international

Creative Compassion - Artist Hölzel

Bio of Adolf Hölzel (1853-1934)

Born in Olmütz (Moravia), trained as a typesetter in Gotha

1871 The family moves to Vienna, Hölzel becomes a guest student at the Vienna Academy

1876 Hölzel moves to Munich and studies at the Munich Art Academy

1879 to 1882 master student in the class of Wilhelm von Diez, one of the few genre painters at the academy, which at this time is considered the European center of history painting

1887 First study trip to Paris with Arthur Langhammer, in the same year move to Dachau near Munich

1892 Hölzels is founder of the private "Dachau School of Painting", followed by the formation of the "New Dachau Painting Group" with Arthur Langhammer and Ludwig Dill, inspired by the French "Barbizon School" and its anti-academism and painting concept of the "Paysage intime". In the same year, the "Munic Secession" split off from the "Munic Artists' Cooperative" of which Hölzel was a founding member. He is also a member of the "Association of Fine Artists" of Austria and publishes his first essay on art theory in its journal "Ver Sacrum" in 1901

1905 Appointed to the "Royal Academie of Fine Art" (today "State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart") as professor of the composition class

1907 Meeting with Paul Sérusier, a member of the "Nabis" group around Paul Gaugin

1910 Execution of the mural "The Crucified" in the Garrison Church in Ulm (today Church of St. Paul) built by Theodor Fischer; the mural is partially painted over in the 1960s

1911 Ida Kerkovius, who already took lessons from Hölzel in Dachau, becomes Hölzel's assistant. The "Hölzel Circle" is formed, which manifests itself in 1916 with an exhibition at the Art Society Freiburg

1914 First glass windows for the boardroom of the Bahlsen-Werke Hannover

1916 to 1918 director of the Stuttgart Art Academy

1918 First major solo exhibition at the Kestner-Society, Hanover. Consul Fritz Beinhoff, owner of the company Günther Wagner, Pelikan Werke, acquires all the exhibits in the exhibition

1919 Hölzel leaves the Stuttgart Art Academy

1927 Teacher at the Stuttgart Free Artschool founded by his student August Ludwig Schmitt

1928-1929 Glass windows for Stuttgart City Hall, for the Pelikan-Werke Hanover 1932-1933 and for the J.F. Maercklin office building in 1934

1933 As a result of the National Socialists' seizure of power, the large survey exhibition "Hölzel and his circle" in Stuttgart for the National Art Exhibition is canceled

The life and work of the artist Adolf Hölzel is documented by the Adolf Hölzel Foundation

The Hölzel House in Stuttgart, BW/GER where Adolf Hölzel worked and lived, is museum and art school today. It holds a collection of the artist's work of different time periods, exhibits of the Hölzel Circle, Hölzel's original furniture and a library

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