The life of the artist

His friends and supporters
Flora’s graphic impressiveness made him a seminal figure of the 20th century and as a draughtsman, marked it as no other. He thus became not just one of the most important, but also one of the most popular illustrators in Europe. He was proud of the fact that his drawings appeared not only in museums, but in thousands of living rooms of so-called ordinary people. His art, for him the “elixir of life”, is indeed available to all: subtly and cryptically, it pleases both connoisseurs of the graphic tradition and viewers who approach it with no prior knowledge of art history. As Günther Nenning wrote in 2003: “His work is not the sort of art that only becomes art once an expert declares: That is art!” By the way, the experts also say that Flora is indeed art.
Flora’s works can be found worldwide in numerous museums and galleries. Many exhibitions in internationally renowned institutions such as the Vienna Secession, Albertina, Ferdinandeum, the Museum Folkwang in Essen and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts have been a feature of his artistic life, while many public awards have honoured his successful career. Paul Flora died on 15 May 2009 in Innsbruck: his artworks remain, along with the memory of an immensely likeable and human artist.

Paul Flora as man of letters and book illustrator
The year 1953 sees the beginning of his association with the Zurich-based Diogenes publishing house, as well as of his friendship with its director, Daniel Keel: a first book is published. In the course of his life a total of some 150 books and illustrated volumes will appear and make Flora famous as a satirist and humorous artist. He publishes 50 illustrated books for himself, as well as numerous works for his friends, among them Hans Weigel, Jörg Mauthe, Tomi Ungerer and Loriot. He emerges as an author in his own right with (among others) his tales and stories “Dies und das” [This and that], published in 1997 by Diogenes. The list of his friends and admirers in the literary world is also lengthy and includes Erich Kästner, who described him as a “writer in pictures”; Friedrich Duerrenmatt; Georges Simenon and Martin Walser.

Caricaturist at Die Zeit
In 1953 he becomes head caricaturist at the German weekly Die Zeit, where he works as an illustrator for 14 yars, drawing weekly political caricatures. This becomes his main occupation, with his caricatures also appearing in the “Times”, the “Observer”, the “Dagens Nyheter” and other major daily papers. These fourteen years see the production of over 3,000 caricatures and his name becomes known throughout Europe. Yet, throughout his life, Paul Flora does not feel drawn to caricature: he finds such work increasingly burdensome and in 1971, despite the incredible fame he has achieved, he stops this activity completely in order to dedicate himself solely to art and drawing.

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