Matthaeus Kolz (1895 - 1971)

Konjice, Slovenia 1933-35

SLOVENEC, 18th August 1934 A German artist among the Slovenes 

Portion of Triptych illustrated in the original newspaper article, now being restored at Leicester New Walk Museum original article
On a pleasant small property near Konjic Matej Koelz, an academically trained painter, has set up his studio. From his own account we gather that he was born the son of a merchant on March 31st., 1895, at the village of Miihldorf in Upper Bavaria. He completed his secondary education in Munich, where he later also continued his studies at the academy of fine arts. His studies were interrupted by the war, when as a twenty year old youth he had to leave for the front. He spent three-and-a-half years in the trenches or the Western Front. After the war he was an officer, first in the Reichswehr and later in the police. He left this job and continued his studies at the academy in Munich, where his professors were the well-known artists, von Marr and von Stuck. After completing his studies he spent time up till the year 1931 travelling in various countries for the purposes of study. 

With a commission from a Swiss publishing house he has been staying since March of last year in Yugoslavia, where he has settled near Konjice. Because of this the Hitler regime in Germany has proclaimed him an emigrant, since they have suspected him of flight. They have seized his property and are threatening him with dispossession if he does not return to Germany by October Ist. this year 

That is his biography in brief. 

For the last three years he has been working on a triptych called: 'Thou shalt not kill!' 

This will be a work of art from which our own native artists might learn. it represents a battlefield where some young combatants lie dead, while others prepare for battle and - death. Far away from the battlefield, but with it in view, stand groups of the faithful with their bishop. They are all assembled at prayer. 

We bring you a couple of these groups to illustrate the truly great creative ability of the artist. These are groups, motifs and portraits of our folk from the vicinity of Konjice. Rarely among our own native artists do we find individual features in such detail and at the same time so naturally yet also so movingly expressed as here. 

Each portrait mirrors great weariness, anguish and grief but also submission to the divine will. Every least line is artistically and precisely rendered, every line is natural, neither exaggerated nor formal. There is also a remarkable accuracy in his depiction of all details of dress and surroundings.