News of the death of Norbert Schwontkowski in Bremen last Friday was received with sadness in NCAD where Norbert acted as External Examiner in Painting in 2006 and 2007. He shared with us his incredible knowledge and enthusiasm for the ‘power’ of painting and did this always with charm and subtle wit. His paintings often showed a figure wrestling with a light bulb, a figure bemused or at odds with their surroundings; a metaphor perhaps for the position of the artist in a dark place. Monotone murky backgrounds offer his protagonists an arena in which to indulge their eccentricities and a space to berate the cruelties of a hostile world. Coming from the German Romantic and Nordic tradition, Norbert’s paintings strike a poetic note of hope and absurdity. His overnight international success, which only arrived in middle age was a cause of some amusement to him, but was long overdue.
Posted by Robert Armstrong