Peter Keil (German born 1942)
Peter Robert Keil was born to an artist blacksmith father whom he lost very early in his childhood during the Second World War. During the end phase of the war, Keils mother, also an artistically talented woman, took her son and struggled her way to West Berlin where they settled. This is where Peter Robert Keil grew up in the working-class neighbourhood of Berlin-Wedding and where he discovered his interest in painting – particularly in expressionistic artists and in Pablo Picassos work. From 1954 on, the East Berlin-based painter Otto Nagel became his mentor and taught him first craft skills and painting techniques. In 1954, he began his traineeship as an artist metalworker and between 1959 and 1961, he studied at the University of Arts in Berlin. When the Berlin Wall was built, he lost contact with his mentor Otto Nagel and from the early 60s on, Keil started to spend more and more time abroad. During his studies at the University of Arts in Berlin, he came in contact with numerous other artists who later became influential artists of their generation, like for example Georg Baselitz,Eugen Schonebeck,Markus Lupertz and Joachim Schmetta. During his time in Mallorca, he also met with Joan Miro in his studio several times. From the early 60s on, Keil established studios in Paris, London, Berlin and in the US. Today he mainly lives and works in Zimmerau (Bavaria, Germany), Berlin and Los Angeles.
In the beginnings of his artistic career, Peter Keils style was influenced by German expressionism. In the works from his early Berlin years, he mainly focused on typical big city settings and characters on the fringes of society. However, his style changed visibly at the beginning of the 60s when he lived in Paris for a while and emerged in the citys nightlife. Keil increasingly parted with his realistic approach and developed a new, much more spontaneous and dynamic painting style which he developed further during his years in London and finally during his time as one of the "Berliner Neue Wilden" at the beginning of the 80s. Since then, the use of intensive to lurid colours and the absence of realistic representation have become characteristic of his painting style.In his paintings, the colour is applied with quick brushstrokes and occasionally with impasto techniques and the images are additionally abstracted by the use of Graffiti elements. Keil prefers to paint human figures, portraits, big city scenes, landscapes and still life images of flowers.His emotional way of painting is mainly driven by a desire for freedom from social constraints and conventions. In the past 50 years, he has created numerous large- and small scale paintings in oil and mixed media on canvas but also some sculptures in wood and steel and a great number of majolicas.