Otmar Alt

Basic Info

Name: Otmar Alt
Date of Birth: July 17, 1940
Country of Origin: DE


Otmar Alt is a German painter, graphic artist and sculptor who abides by the idea that “art that you have to explain is boring”. Born in 1940, Alt began his career as an apprentice designer and poster painter, before enrolling at the Akademie der Künste in 1959. His early paintings were mostly of nature, and stylistically abstract. By the mid 1960s, Alt, at that time a student of Hermann Bachmann, had begun to develop his own, more figurative style, characterized by bright colors, puzzle-like compositions with precise borders, and depictions of animals. He held his first solo exhibition of oil and acrylic paintings in 1965, and graduated the next year.

Alt’s pieces express his view that art should not be elitist, but accessible to everyone, with each viewer able to interpret the work independently. Expanding his output from painting to wall murals and reliefs, by the early 1970s he began to work with printmaking and sculptures in bronze, plastic and wood. His paintings formed the foundation for his later works, which somewhat resemble brightly-colored stained glass windows, with a repertoire of subjects including mythical beasts and circus-like animal forms. Alt also designed toys and figurines and worked on illustrating children’s books in the 1970s and -80s.

Alt has had numerous solo and group shows at German galleries and museums, with his work held at the Walters Art Museum, Wilhelm-Fabry Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art and others. Today, he lives and works in a former farmhouse near Norddinker, next door to the Otmar Alt Foundation, an exhibition space founded by him to support young artists with scholarships and exposure.

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