Klar, Otto (1908 – 1994)
Otto Klar was born in Vienna, Austria in 1908. He studied at the Vienna Acad of Arts. Klar exhibited in Vienna,
Munich and Berlin before coming to South Africa in 1939. Klar settled in Pretoria, where he painted and taught
art. He was interested in local landscape and Bantu figure subjects. In 1962 Otto Klar received an Honorary
Professorship conferred on him by the President of Austria.
Otto Klar was a painter of confirmed ability, but one who was vacillated in his commitment to aesthetic principles.
Soon after his arrival in South Africa he established a reputation by demonstrating command of the oil techniques
and skill in descriptive landscape, which were well received.
Otto Klar was described as “A painter of energy and strength, he could hurl thunderbolts across his canvasses.
His palette – black, white, golds, oranges and reds, suggest furnaces and molten metal. His knowledgeable brush
holds promise of powerful constructions, meteoric movement and dynamic clash of forces. Yet, repeatedly a
powerful initial composition is reduced to banality by the imposition of forced literary images.
He passed away in Pretoria in 1994 after making his mark in the South African art world.
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