Paul Wunderlich was born in Eberswalde in Mark Brandenburg, Germany, on March 10, 1927. From 1947 to 1951 he studied at what later became the "Hochschule für Bildende Künste" in Hamburg in Willi Titze's class for "Free Graphics". Among his fellow students were Horst Janssen and Reinhard Drenkhahn.
In 1950 Wunderlich studied under Willem Grimms for a semester. Having finished his studies, Paul Wunderlich himself taught etching and lithography techniques at the school from 1951 to 1960. In 1951 Wunderlich printed Emil Nolde's etching "Der König und seine Mannen" for the artist, followed by eleven of Oskar Kokoschka's lithographies for his narrative "Ann Eliza Reed" a year later.
In 1957 Paul Wunderlich painted tachist paintings, most of which he later destroyed, leaving only a few. A short time later he produced his first figurative paintings, with the main work of this struggle with the figure being the painting "Sebastian", completed in early 1959.
Between 1961 and 1963 Paul Wunderlich lived and worked in Paris, where he perfected his lithography technique at the workshop of printer Desjobert. An appointment as professor at the "Hochschule der Bildenden Künste" took him back to Hamburg in 1963.
The second half of the 1960s was marked by experiments with various techniques. Wunderlich was inspired by photographic models, painted with airbrush and stencils. He began to work on sculptures and perfected his gouache technique, which became very important for Paul Wunderlich's creative work henceforth.
Paul Wunderlich frequently worked in printing houses abroad. In 1968 the artist resigned from his position as a professor at the "Hochschule für Bildende Künste" in Hamburg. During the 1970s Paul Wunderlich studied Dürer, Ingres and Manet and produced a series of "Dürer paraphrases", in which he alienated Dürer's motifs surrealistically.
During the 1980s Wunderlich focused on sculptures. In In 1994-95 several Japanese museums in Tokyo, Osaka, Hakkeido and Gifu showed a retrospective of his work.
The artist died in France in 2010. He is regarded as the most important exponent of "Fantastic Realism".
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