K. R. H. Sonderborg, whose given name was Kurt Rudolf Hoffmann, was one of the most important artists of the nascent German Federal Republic. Born in 1923, he grew up in Hamburg under the influence of his father, an art and jazz enthusiast. Hoffmann later chose the name of his Danish birthplace as his professional name. Due to the chaos of the war years, he turned to art relatively late in life. In 1953 he joined the artist group ZEN 49, whose expressed aim was to achieve a better understanding of and recognition for abstract art in Germany.
Prior to this, Sonderborg had gained extensive knowledge in Paris on automatism and abstract French and American painting, as well as exploring Asian calligraphy in-depth. From these studies, he derived and developed his own signature style. His abstract-gestural visual language largely emerged from the dynamics of the painting process itself and featured a reduced color palette made up solely of black and red on a white background. Although Sonderborg is considered as the pioneer of art informel, he crossed the boundaries of strictly defined art-historical categories time and again by introducing elements from the objective world into his imagery.
In addition to these lesser-known aspects, the present book showcases works spanning all periods of his artistic life and investigates Sonderborg’s relationship with his contemporaries, especially with Emil Schumacher, who developed an independent and original position in art informel around the same time.