Bernhard Rieger

Facades that tell stories

Bernhard Rieger, facade painter and artist

Facades that tell stories

Bernhard Rieger, facade painter and artist

In 1776, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was on his way to Italy through Mittenwald in Upper Bavaria, he began to enthuse about his surroundings...  The place was a "living picture book", he said, as he saw the colourful paintings on the facades of the farmhouses. Many of these in Mittenwald and the neighbouring villages have stood the test of time - and tell visitors the same stories as they did to the great poet: Woodworkers and raftsmen go about their hard work, St. Christopher carries the child Jesus over the river and in a jolly tavern scene everyone is celebrating wildly. The artist Bernhard Rieger comes from this region and maintains this traditional art form with the old technique of facade painting.

Rieger's atelier is situated in the 2,000-strong community of Krün in the Werdenfelser Land, where on a clear day the Karwendel and Wetterstein mountain ranges as well as the Zugspitze can be seen. On the way to the creative refuge of the 34-year-old painter, one passes several facade paintings. In his showroom, the artist shows visitors (who have made a booking) a cross-section of his work. Alpine Pop Art, rural motives on canvas masterminded in the style of Andy Warhol. Next to these decorative objects and furnishings from his "Alpenterieur" brand, which he designs and his brother Wolfgang makes out of scrap wood and historical building materials from old farmhouses. And of course his facade paintings.

Alpenterieur Produkte

"Strictly speaking, many of my works could be described as facade art", explains Rieger and shows a photograph of the facade of the Rheinischer Hof hotel in neighbouring Garmisch-Partenkirchen, on which two mountain climbers from different eras scale a mountain together. "Traditional facade painting is about working with mineral colours, and mostly farming and religious motives are presented, as was the custom in the 18th century." Rieger has mastered the old techniques but often works with modern colours and motives. "More loosely speaking, you can also describe work like the one on the Rheinischen Hof as facade painting", he says. "Due to modern plaster and colour technology, they don't last as long as the works of the artists of those times."

``I already liked facade painting as a child.``

That Rieger found his way to facade painting has something to do with loving the place he grew up in: In fact he was born in Munich, but that was "by chance", as he says, because at the time of his birth his mother was at her parents' home in the Dachauer Land.  Rieger grew up in Wallgau, just next to Krün. There he also has a scrap-wood workshop, where his brother is employed. "I already liked facade painting as a child and wanted to do it later myself", says Rieger.  During his schooldays he painted, even got orders, and after leaving school with his "Abitur" exam completed, he taught himself facade painting. He gained the special knowledge of the chemical processes partly from old drawings from the 18th century - and he can embellish a wall with frescoes that can compete on equal terms with the old paintings.

Fassade des Hotels Rheinischer Hof
PopArt

Just like the old facade painters, Rieger interprets real life stories with his art.  Rieger explains: "I immerse myself in the house, its residents, its surroundings and the region and let this flow into my design." On the red facade of the Rheinischen Hof he portrayed the generational conflict of the hotelier family artistically. Rieger's murals are also suited to other areas of Germany where they are orientated to the design principles of the relevant region.  A client from the Rhine region, who is a regular guest in the Werdenfelser Land, wanted to have an elaborate facade painting from his "second homeland" on his house. Rieger fulfilled his wish, but incorporated the local tradition: So in Rhöndorf near Bonn, very close to the former home of Konrad Adenauer, a scene from St. Hubert's life which is typical for the region is displayed on the wall: a hunter, and a stag with a cross between its antlers appearing before him. Facade painting as Bavarian culture export.

Skizzen
Bernhard Ludwig Rieger
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address: Walchenseestraße 6, 82494 Krün
Tel: +49 (0)8825 921 7030
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email: info@alpenterieur.com
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web: //www.alpenterieur.com