Drawings by Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern (1892-1982).
Born in Tilsit, East Prussia (now Lithuania), Schröder-Sonnenstern was self-taught artist who lived a migratory life and began drawing at age 57. The second of 13 children born to an alcoholic father, he was unruly from an early age, put in an insane asylum the first of three times in his life at age 20, and he had numerous run-ins with the law for swindling, blackmail and theft that landed him in prison on several occasions. At various times he was a dairy farmer, a circus performer, a cigar seller, a horse thief, a blackmailer, and cult leader.
In 1944, he surfaced in Berlin, where he lived with his companion after having escaped a penal colony and a number of stays in mental hospitals. He survived by selling firewood for five years before willing himself to become an artist in 1949. In the drawings that suddenly poured out of him, Schröder-Sonnenstern depicted scenes of torture, grotesquery, scatology and deformity, as well as astrological and occult figures, all drawn in crayon and colored pencil.