Painter, commercial artist, graphic designer, draughtsman, sculptor, set designer, illustrator, art educator and writer
Wolfgang Mattheuer was born in Reichenbach, in the German Vogtland. From 1941 to 1944 he trained as a lithographer and attended drawing classes. He began his war service in 1944, and a year later escaped from a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp. In 1946 he attended Leipzig’s applied arts school, the Kunstgewerbeschule, and from 1947 to 1951 he studied at the city’s academy of fine arts, the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst. Mattheuer taught himself to paint and worked as a graphic artist in Berlin and Leipzig. In 1953 he began to teach in Leipzig, and from 1956 to 1974 he served as a professor of painting and graphics. He became one of the chief representatives of the Leipzig School. He began making sculptures in 1971. In 1973 he was award the East German painting prize. Beginning in the mid-1970s Mattheuer also had various exhibitions in the Federal Republic. In 1988 he resigned from the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (SED), the Socialist Unity Party, and a year later he took part in the Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig. In 1993 he was awarded the Federal Republic of Germany’s Cross First Class of the Order of Merit. He became a member of the Akademie der Künste Berlin-Brandenburg, the honorary arts academy, but a year later resigned owing to what he perceived as intolerance. In 2003 he became a member of the Freie Akademie der Künste, the Free Academy of Arts, in Hamburg. Mattheuer died in Leipzig in 2004.