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Willi Geiger

Schönbrunn 1878 - München 1971


Willi Geiger, also written "Willy Geiger", was born in Schönbrunn near Landshut on 17 August 1878. He studied at the academy in Munich from 1902 to 1905 under Franz von Stuck (painting) and Peter Halm (etching). Early on, in 1903, Willi Geiger came to the fore with the brush-and-ink-drawing series "Seele" and in 1904-05 with the etching cycle "Liebe". He received the National prize and the Schack scholarship for his efforts, which enabled him to stay in Spain and Italy for two years.
Willi Geiger used the opportunity to travel to Northern Africa. Especially the works, executed in Rome in 1905-06, created a scandal on their publishing day due to their satirical-sexual content. Back in Munich, Willi Geiger devoted himself to the design of exlibris, book decorations and illustrations. In 1909-10 he received the Villa Romana prize.
In 1912 he returned to Spain, where he had already during his first stay been fascinated by bull fighting. The years before the war were spent in Berlin. In 1914 he published fighting series, compelled by the German war euphoria. Geiger took part in the war in France and was soon disillusioned by the cruel reality. During these years he increasingly started to paint, especially portraits.
His style, which had alternated between Impressionism and linear ornamentality, turned to Expressionism. Psychologically affected by the war, Geiger needed time in peace to find his way back to a normal life in Munich.
From 1921 to 1923 Willi Geiger was able to teach nude painting at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich. Afterwards he returned to Spain. In 1928 Geiger was called to the Staatliche Akademie in Leipzig, but he was discharged due to his opposition to National Socialism in 1933. His connections saved him from further persecution. His works were classified as "degenerate".
The artist withdraw to a farm on the Chiemsee and continued painting expressionistic paintings. He alway had the possibility to visit Spain. At the end of the war, Willi Geiger was appointed professor for painting at the Kunstakademie in Munich. In 1951 he resigned at the age of 73, but he tirelessly continued to paint.
Willi Geiger died at the age of 94 in Munich on 11 February 1971.


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