1904 Berlin – 1954 Sant Angelo/Ischia
Werner Heldt went to the Berlin School of Arts and Crafts in 1923, followed by his studies at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He admired the background descriptions of Berlin by his friend Heinrich Zille, and already created window views and urban landscapes with the sea as the central motif (dream drawings) in the early 1930s. When the Nazis took over, Heldt fled to Mallorca. The Spanish Civil War forced him to return to Berlin. From 1936–1940, he lived in a studio house, where other nonconformist artists, such as Käthe Kollwitz, Werner Gilles, and Hermann Blumenthal, stayed as well. He rarely painted during these years. In 1940, he was drafted into the military and was imprisoned. In 1946, he returned to his completely destroyed hometown. Heldt, like his fellow artist Hans Uhlmann, is counted towards the artists of the “first hour” in post-war Berlin. He was one of the first people who socialised in Berlin’s Gerd Rosen gallery after being founded in August 1945. At that time, the Berlin art scene was experiencing an awakening in the light of its regained freedom. The preferred subjects of Heldt were the city and its architecture in the mood before, during and after the Second World War, which the chronicler was able to capture like no other artist of his generation. His paintings developed from almost realistic works to abstracted compositions and became an important testimony to the development of German painting in the first half of the 20th century.