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"We cannot step into the same river twice..." The insight from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus is also true of our perception of colours today. We never see the same thing twice. Our brain always receives portions of reality."


As long as I can remember, I have been doing art. When I was growing up in post-war Germany, shortage of materials to produce anything creative limited my choice of medium. So my earliest drawings were made with pieces of charcoal on the backside of old wall paper torn out of buildings about to be repaired or rebuilt.


Growing up on my grandfather's small farm near Heidelberg during and after the war left me with indelible memories. While we always had enough to eat, I saw people begging for food at our door. My grandfather gave them a place at the table. By the time I started studying art, my thoughts and feelings about life and art were permanently affected by these early experiences and were shaped by a moral sense rooted in compassion and guided by a sense of justice.


In the mid-sixties when the air was thick with smoke from fiery talk about art and its role in Germany, like many I struggled for an answer. What should be a positive role for an artist in Germany after the catastrophe? How could art help clear up the rubble in our hearts and minds? Was it possible that art could help weave a social fabric based on justice? Because a positive view of aesthetics is so life affirming, for me engaging in the creative process was a political act. My belief in this possibility remains alive to this day.


As I worked more and more with colour, its essence intrigued me. My sense of colour, I think, is influenced by music. Like music, colour has a complex effect on our perception. It has its particular syntax and employs a vast spectrum to express joy passionately. I am a visual person, but I experience music when I work with colour to communicate what I see and feel – in a non-verbal way, like movements in a dance. Bach and Beethoven are with me when I work with colour. Focus on colour is a way to see the world with different eyes - to 'see' freely with colour, unencumbered by symbols of various ideologies.


Maybe human beings' oldest positive colour experience is the spectacle of sunrise and sunset. This daily light show leaves an enduring stamp on our perception of colour and our ability to sense and imagine its effect. This global phenomenon is a source of shared wonder and joy. 


Colour and a sense of wonder in nature helps me develop a positive view of aesthetics.

Hermann Valentin Schmitt

Born 1943 in Heidelberg; lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and Victoria, Canada.

Studies in Art

1965 - 1971

Studies in Free Painting with Professor Sonderborg, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart, Germany and with Howard Hodgkin, Bath Academy of Art, Corsham Court, UK.

Selected Exhibitions 



Höllische Farben im Paradiso, Studio Berlin

2016 - 2018

Berlin Summer Studio Shows also with Inselglück, Galerie Nord, Berlin


Sturm in der Amygdala, Shell-Haus: GASAG, Berlin

2004 - 2005

Painting The New (Farbarbeiten und Lichtinstallation), UBS Stuttgart


Der Farbenkosmos des Hermann Valentin Schmitt, Galerie des Staatsarchives, Baden Würtemberg und in der Sparkasse, Ludwigsburg

1999 - 2000

Hermann Valentin Schmitt: Farbarbeiten, Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg



Roundtable 5, Art Auction, Berlin


Ausstellungsprojekt der Deutsch-Japanischen Gesellschaft: Tokyo (SUMIDA River Hall, Veranstaltungshalle im Rathaus des Stadtbezirks Taito-ku)


Ausstellungsprojekt der Deutsch-Japanischen Gesellschaft: Berlin (Schloss Charlottenburg)


Ausstellungsprojekt der Deutsch-Japanischen Gesellschaft: Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space)


Roundtable 5, Art Auction, Berlin


Asien-Pazifik-Woche, Cicero Galerie und Senat von Berlin


Baustelle Berlin: Zehn Jahre Transformation und Modernisierung, Ostbahnhof, Berlin


Türkis und Azur-Kunstprojekt, Universität Gh Kassel


2016 - 2022

Course Instructor: Exploring Colour and Eyes Wide Shut: Drawing What We Imagine, Division of Continuing Studies, University of Victoria, BC

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