Hans Diebschlag was a figurative painter who worked mainly with oil/tempera mixes using traditional glazing or overlay techniques. His paintings often have a strong narrative content rich in symbolism and detail that frequently reflect an interest in the spiritual with juxtapositions of eastern and western motifs. Much of his work combines surreal elements with the influence of the German romantic tradition.
Hans studied Art and Painting at the Städel in Frankfurt and his work has been exhibited internationally since 1982 including Stockholm, Los Angeles, New York, London, Cologne, Darmstadt, Rüsselsheim and Berlin. His paintings are found worldwide in private, municipal and corporate collections.
Hans Diebschlag was born in Germany in 1951 but moved to the UK in 1976 where he lived until his death in 2014.
One major area of interest and influence in his work is Rüsselsheim, the town in Hessen Germany where Hans grew up and which is also home to Opel the then GM owned car manufacturer. Hans’s personal connections and frequent visits to Rüsselsheim and the Frankfurt area meant that both the town and Opel continued to be influences in his work even though he lived the majority of his life in the south of England.
The theme the Spirit in the Landscape led Hans to the trees of his adopted homeland, in particular the ancient Yews, which have inspired a large body of works in watercolour. Hans was exploring a new tree related project influenced by the ancient Celtic Ogham Alphabet but only completed two works he completed on this theme, these will be uploaded to the website soon.
Heimat or homeland is a significant theme for anyone who changes their country of residence. For Hans there are three homelands in his work. Two have been mentioned already, Germany the land of his birth and England where he lived and painted for most of his adult life. However for Hans there was a place that felt like a third heimat, namely India, a country that whenever he arrived there he said he felt like he had come home. The great epics of India in particular those of Ram, Sita and Hanuman in the Ramayana were a continuing theme in many of Hans’s paintings.
Hans finally realised a long held dream to produce a large scale fresco, painting directly into wet plaster using pure pigment in October 2012. The fresco is in the Bergrestaurant Heiligenborn near Schlüchtern. The following year Hans showed as part of Rüsselsheim’s Summer of Culture with a wide range of his work from across the years from 1980 to 2013, an exhibition described at the time as a retrospective. In the following summer of 2014 an exhibition of portraits was also held in Rüsselsheim. This brought together work in oils and tempera from Hans with watercolours by friend and fellow India enthusiast Kabir Das, and photography from old friend and Rüsselsheimer Andreas Hasselbach. Since meeting Kabir Das on his first trip to India in 1998 Hans had dreamed of them showing their work together and that dream was realised in what turned out to be Hans’s final exhibition.
In November 2014 Hans Diebschlag died unexpectedly, he had been painting in his home studio just days before. How glad we are to have known him and to have him still in our hearts and in his paintings.
The aim of this website is to provide a lasting tribute to Hans’s life and vast body of work. It is a work in progress so please be patient and keep visiting as images and more background information will slowly be added.
Work is also underway to record the complete works of Hans Diebschlag. Initial estimates suggest Hans produced around 450 paintings, however records of work between 1996 and 2003 are incomplete so please get in touch if you own any of Hans’s paintings.
LATEST NEWS – Calendar Picture for January with comment added in News Section.
See Hans talking about aspects of his life and work in the 2008 film “Hans Diebschlag – Opel, Rüsselsheim und Ich” . The film is on YouTube and is in German with English subtitles, so click here to open the film in YouTube.
A film about the making of the 2008 film has also been uploaded to YouTube Click here
A major controversial work of Hans Diebschlag’s was on show in 2018 in Dresden read more here. It has now returned to the place for which it was commissioned see the latest post in the News section.