Wols, born Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze, born in Berlin on the 27th of May 1913 and deceased in Paris on the 1st of September 1951, is a german plastic artist. Photographer, engraver, painter and graphic designer, close to Surrealism, Wols is considered as a pionneer of european lyric abstraction and an important representative of the "tachisme" and of Informal art in Europe. He moved to France when he fled the hitlerian regim.
Wols' father, Alfred Schulze, as representative of the ministry in the Academy Councel, had an important influence on artists vocation in Dresden's academies. Otto Dix even made his portrait.
Wols has been a good sportsman and musician until his father's severe illness in 1928. He died in 1929, which traumatized the artist.
Being a very qualified photographer, Wols undertook a trip to Paris in 1932, with a recommendation from the artist-teacher Moholy-Nagy. He met in Paris the Romanian Gréty, who introduced him to Arp, Calder, Giacometti, and many personalities of the parisian artistic scene.
Wols moved back to Germany in 1933, but, because of the Nazis' take over, he turned back to his country and decided to live in Paris. Illegal immigrant, he was considered as a deserter and a stateless person ; he was arrested many times by the police. In 1936, Wols received, with Léger and Rivière's help, a limited resident permit. Wols lived thanks to photography, and his unusual fashion and interiors photographs were sold as postcards and printed in many international fashion magazines. "Wols"' pseudonyme appeared during this period.
Between 1937 and 1939, Wols became famous as portrait photographer. Besides, he realized an autoportraits series, urban photographies and still lives.
Immediatly after the beginning of the Second World War, Wols was enprisoned with many germans in differents french internment camps. During this time, Wols realized many surrealist drawings and watercolours on life in these internment camps. Wols tried to emigrate to the United States, entrusting many watercolours to dealers, in order for them to be sold, to prove his artistic qualities and to obtain a visa. But the visas arrived to late and he lived from 1943 to 1945 in Dieulefit, where Wols produced watercolours, drawings, photographs and small oil on canvas.
Alcoholic, and despite a relative financial success, Wols' health progressively deteriorate itself. He died in 1951, further to a poisoning.