Peter Brüning

*1929 Düsseldorf – 1970 Ratingen

As a central figure in the history of German art in the 1950s and 60s, Brüning left an extraordinarily diverse and ground-breaking work, decisively shaping the artistic new beginning after the war. Brüning was one of the initiators, pioneers and bearers of the intellectual climate of the fifties, in which the legendary “Düsseldorf art scene” developed. Born in Düsseldorf in 1929, he held a professorship for free painting at the Düsseldorf Art Academy since 1969, and he can almost be regarded as an integrator in this scene.

Previously from 1950 to 1952 as a student with Willi Baumeister in Stuttgart and from 1952 to 1954 for study purposes in Paris, Peter Brüning became one of the most important protagonists of the German Informel in the late 1950s, not yet 30 years old, and gained international recognition. Numerous solo exhibitions at home and abroad, numerous awards and participation in the most important exhibition projects of his time [a.o., documenta II (1959), III (1964) and IV (1968)] prove this success. The topic of his extensive main work, which was accomplished in barely more than fifteen years, is the landscape, although no longer used in the conventional sense. From 1964 onwards, universal sign systems such as cartography and traffic signs gradually became part of his imagery. Pictures, installations and sculptures are created that question the reality of art and mark a radical position for this time. From today’s point of view, one can only admire the self-reliance and innovative power of this young artist. What would have been possible through this artist’s personality remains speculation alone.

Selected works

Reinhard Pods, Ohne Titel (will), 1981, Oil on canvas, 200 x 220.3 cm

Peter Brüning
Nr. 19/65 (Höhenlinien)

oil on canvas
90 x 85 cm


Peter Brüning Galerie Haas AG Zürich

24 January – 22 March 2019

Peter Brüning

Paintings & Works on Paper

Peter Brüning would have turned 90 in 2019. In retrospect of the artist, who died early in the prime of his years, one must involuntarily think of the phenomenon of his early artistic development, which at the end of 1970 came to a sudden conclusion, but as a whole was completed in a very special way: in their consistency, visual inventiveness and spiritual intensity.

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“When one thinks of the artist Peter Brüning, who died in the prime of his years, one must also think automatically of a phenomenon of artistic development that quickly received great acclaim – an artistic development characterized by logical. consistency, pictorial ingenuity, and spiritual intensity, which found its abrupt end in late 1970s, but as a whole, in a remarkable way, appears perfected and oddly cohesive.”

Marie-Luise Otten