Discover the Wild Man of Berlin

Sept | Oct 2018 ISSUE

Peter Keil artwork

Growing up in the war-ridden streets of Berlin, Peter Keil used art to temporarily escape the harsh conditions of a post-war Germany. He began studying the work of Pablo Picasso and other artists, inspired by their ability to create pieces that evoked emotion and incited discussion about social issues.

Eager to refine his techniques and broaden his knowledge, Keil attended the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts. Though he is an academically trained artist, his work is more influenced by his time spent traveling abroad, particularly in Paris. In the City of Lights, he spent his nights drinking, exchanging stories, and forming relationships with colorful characters who were considered degenerates in the eyes of the bourgeois. His lively spirit and innate ability to connect with people from all walks of life earned him the nickname of ‘The Wild Man of Berlin.’ Thanks to his charismatic personality, Keil was able to make a living by sketching his newfound friends who were often addicts, criminals, and ladies of the evening. By the time he left Paris, he had developed a new artistic narrative.

Art piques your curiosity.
Peter Keil’s art commands your attention.

Evolving from his traditional training and expressionism influence, he began using intensive colors, challenging social norms and distorting reality in his work. He painted portraits of the people he met on any material he could get his hands on—canvas, board, and even bed sheets. His goal was to create art that was startling and unpleasant, forcing viewers to stop and think about what they were seeing.

Keil’s art continues to be highly regarded around the world and is known to have influenced the work of well-known artists from the neo-expressionism and contemporary art periods, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. If you’re interested in viewing or purchasing Keil’s paintings, you can visit his official website or a Grand Bohemian Gallery at any Kessler Collection hotel.