Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern was born on the German-Russian border and received little education. As a child, accusations of theft and subsequent threatening behavior led to his being sent to a series of reform schools and ultimately to an asylum. These experiences gave him a lifelong hatred of authority. After a number of menial jobs, including time spent in the army, in a circus and as a fortune-teller, Schröder-Sonnenstern became ill, and eventually became bed-ridden. He turned to painting and drawing, having been introduced to art during a short spell in prison at an earlier period in his life.
Using coloured pencil over thin washes of paint to achieve depth, Schröder-Sonnenstern depicted a colourful series of grotesque caricatures, flat distorted figures and partly recognizable monsters and animals, all drawn with a crisp fine line. An overwhelming feeling of menace and sadistic subversion characterizes all of Schröder-Sonnenstern’s work: the grotesques inhabit a sinister and sexually charged mythical world. There is a sense of authority being undermined. In the 1960s Schröder-Sonnenstern exhibited his work and gained some notoriety as an artist.
l'envol ou le rêve de voler, la maison rouge, from june 16th to october 28th, 2018.
the museum of everything, from June 10th, 2017, to April 2nd, 2018, mona (museum of old and new art), berriedale, australia.
art brut : a story of individual mythologies, oeuvres de la collection Treger Saint Silvestre, Oliva Creative Factory, São João da Madeira, from June 18th to February 28th 2017, Porto.
I'm a Beautiful monster, works from the Treger/Saint Silvestre collection, oliva creative Factory, S.Joao da Madeira, from July 17th to August 28th 2015, Porto.
art brut masterpieces et découvertes, carte blanche à Bruno Decharme, galerie christian berst art brut, from October 21th to November 29th 2014, Paris.
Art Brut : breaking the boundaries, Treger Saint Silvestre Collection, from June 1st to September 11th, 2014 curator : Christian Berst, Olivia Creative Factory, Sao Joao da Madeira, Porto.
"art paris 2010", Grand Palais, from March 18th to 22th 2010, Paris.
exhibition catalogue, historias de violencia, collection treger/saint silvestre, nucleo de arte da oliva, sao joao da madeira, 2018.
exhibition catalogue, l'envol ou le rêve de voler, la maison rouge, éd.flammarion, 2018.
I'm a Beautiful monster, works from the Treger/Saint Silvestre collection - exhibition catalogue, Camara Municipal de S.Joao da Madeira, Portugal, June 2015.
Art brut masterpieces & discoveries : carte blanche to Bruno Decharme - exhibition catalogue (21/10 - 29/11/2014, christian berst art brut), Paris, christian berst art brut ed, 2014
Exhibition catalogue "Treger-Saint Silvestre Collection",from June 1st to September 11th, 2014,Porto, Olivia Creative Factory, Sao Joao da Madeira, ed. galerie christian berst art brut, Paris