Supporters and Friends

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Friedrich A. Schultz
Director of the Goethe Institut in Palermo until 1977
In 1978 he founded the Goethe Institut in Chicago 



Palermo 26 November1974 - Palazzo del Turismo
Dr. Friedrich A. Schultz makes the inaugural speech
for the Exhibition of works by Louis Christian Hess


“Ladies and gentlemen, 
Christian Hess could have been here with us; today he would have been only 79 years old. He was born in Bolzano, then his family moved to Innsbruck where his father was to die when Christian was just 13 – the first of his life’s misfortunes. He had to leave high school and start an apprenticeship. Just two years later, another misfortune: the First World War broke out and he became a soldier. At the end of the conflict he moved to Munich to study at the  Academy of Fine Arts, in those years so poor in Germany. As a student he began copying works by old masters. In the tradition of aspiring artists, he also began traveling in Europe. He was a frequent visitor to Scandinavia and a number of other European countries. He came to Italy and finally to Sicilia where his sister lived. He married, but the marriage failed - more bad luck.   And just a few months, a few days, before the end of the Second World War he was killed by a bomb in a city that had been relatively untouched  by the war, Innsbruck. But perhaps the greatest tragedy of his short life was the change on the political scene in his homeland, Germany where, after 1933, no artist was allowed to pursue his own individual style, no one was allowed any longer to express themselves freely through their art. This was perhaps one of the reaso
ns which brought Christian Hess here to Sicily. His relationship with this island may be followed here in this room, this evening. Only 60 paintings and 4 sculptures are on show. They are works from the period between 1922-1938. From that last date no other of his works were left here in Sicily.

What are these pictures about, what can they tell us?  They can tell us about the development of a very honest artist who in the course of his life demonstrated that the most sincere form of artistic expression is the expression of deep emotion and sentiment through simple means. Living in Sicily as a foreigner is an intense and significant experience. Sicilians - and Italians for that - are a strange people. They love self-criticism. That’s why you may hear: “We never manage to do anything beautiful, anything useful.”

The journalist Domenico M. Ardizzone (left) with Friedrich A. Schultz

But over these last few days Sicilians have shown great interest in things that are of great beauty, that are useful and are also foreign. They have inaugurated not only this exhibition, but also the one on the work of Walter Gropius. This has been achieved thanks to cooperation between private individuals and municipal, provincial and state organisations. Writers and art critics have made their contribution. You may discover their names by looking through the catalogues, including the one for the Hess exhibition, which has been published and printed by the Cassa di Risparmio. The councillor for tourism has granted us the use of this fine room. We have with us prof. Leonardo Sciascia who wrote the introduction for the catalogue. For we Germans, all that remains for us to say is: thank you to everyone. As the Goethe Institut, we are pleased to take this exhibition from one Italian city to another.
In January it will open in Rome; then it will visit Padua, Trieste, Genoa, Bolzano, Turin, Milan, etc. I should like to conclude by thanking all those:  from the Mayor, to dott. Bevilacqua, to prof. Sciascia and all the others  for their work and cooperation, and finally all those who have spoken.”.

Dr. Friedrich A. Schultz was one of the first to offer his support for the project to rediscover the works of Christian Hess. He worked closely with the Regional Government of Sicily to bring about the exhibition in Palermo and, with the support of the various branches of the Goethe Institut, the subsequent stages of the traveling exhibition in Italy and Europe. The name of  Friedrich A. Scultz has been included in the Honour Roll of the Christian Hess Cultural Association to honour his memory.