Peter Robert Keil




      Peter Robert Keil



Peter Robert Keil was born in August 1942 in Züllichau / Pommern (now Poland). 

His father was killed on the Eastern Front during World War II. 

Mother and son set out to make their way through the chaos of battered Germany to West Berlin. 

There he grew up in the neighborhood of grey blocks of houses, the typical backyards and the 

trees of the park nearby. Young Keil was fascinated by the books he found 

in the art section of the local library. 

There he admired the works of the Expressionists and of Pablo Picasso. 

Painter - Artist

Peter Robert Keil


In the beginning, Keil studied and copied the style of the great master Picasso 

whom he met in Spain much later. At the age of 15 in 1957 

Keil met the painter Otto Nagel, who became his first teacher and mentor. 

Nagel introduced Keil to painting techniques, taught him realistic painting, and how to deal with colors. 

As a young man, Keil accompanied Nagel on his tours of Berlin's back streets. 

They often painted from nature and the young Keil learned to see his neighborhood 

with the eyes of an artist. Teaching him the painter's craft and introducing him to 

outdoor painting, Nagel also influenced his motifs as well as his color palette. 

Keil refined his technique and broadened his knowledge when he studied at Berlin's 

"Akademie fur Bildende Künste" (Berlin Academy of Fine Arts). 

The academy brought about some important acquaintances and contacts. 

There he met Baselitz,Rainer Fetting Fetting, Lupertz, and Schonebeck and made friends 

with Salome Schmettau and other important artists. 

Keil also obtained a degree as "Kunstschlosser" (art smith); several metal sculptures by Keil exist. 

There exist a small series of beautiful paintings of scenes from New York City by Keil from 1959. 

Both the style and the dating appears to be consistent and would indicate that Keil spent some time there, 

though no records of the (first?) New York trip can be found in the official biographies. 

In 1961 Keil attended Baselitz's and Schonebeck's public presentation of their "Pandemonium Manifesto" 

at the "Grossgroschen 35" gallery. Keil also became a regular at Herta Fiedler's, who became known 

as the "artists' mother". Keil was a well-known denizen of "Kleine Weltlaterne" in Moritzplatz, 

a meeting place for the emerging avant-garde "Junge Wilde" ("Young Fauves") artists, 

and he became the darling of art circles earning him the nickname the 'Wild man of Berlin" 

for his passion for art and living. 

The construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 interrupted the relationship with his famous 

mentor when Nagel was trapped beyond the Wall in East Berlin. 

Another important factor in those formative years of Keil's artistic development 

was his close friendship with the painter Joan Miró whom he had met in Majorca, 

Spain in the early 1960s. 

Mirò repeatedly invited him to his studio in Palma, high above the Gala Major bay. 

The intense sunlight as well as the vivid colors of the Mediterranean region were 

important sources of inspiration for both Mirò and Keil. After Keil left Spain, 

he found a small studio in Paris near the Place de la Bastille. 

Living the carefree artist's life in Paris, the young Keil had a great time in the cafes, 

bars and restaurants of magnificent city and all it had to offer. 

By day he studied the Old Masterpieces in the museums, 

at night he painted portraits in bars to earn his living. 

Outcasts of the Parisian street scene and prostitutes were not only his models, 

but often thankful customers. London was the young artist's next place of residence. 

There he rented a small flat in Earls Court. For a year he enjoyed 'Swinging London' before 

he found his way back to Berlin to paint on a full-time basis. Keil spent (and spends) 

most of his time between Germany and the United States, particularly Florida. 


There are very few known examples of Keil's paintings dated earlier than 1959. 

On the other hand, there is a large number of paintings dated 1959 - some are so different in style 

that it can be assumed that the date "59" in some of them does not actually correspond to 

the year of creation. In his German period, Keil is a contemporary witness of the 

consequences the erection the Berlin Wall had for West Berlin and the revolt against it. 

In one impressive painting he shows people protesting in front of the Brandenburg Gate 

and he later often painted the place of protest, Glienicker Brücke, 

as a symbol of separation of East and West Germany. Even in his later work, 

a considerable number of paintings reflect Berlin's ecstatic attitude towards life and politics. 

On a less political side, Keil often painted typical Berlin street and bar scenes (the well-known 

“Paris Bar” is a recurrent theme), celebrities he met (e.g., the famous German TV showman Harald Juhnke),  

women in various poses, fellow artists (e.g., Elvira Bach, Ranier Fetting, Markus Lüpertz). 

Another recurrent theme is lakes and sailboats, in particular his beloved Lake Wannsee near the 

Berlin of his youth, with its sailing boats, children swimming, sun-seeking bathers in rich colors and 

the hill scenery around it. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the neo-expressionist painters in Germany 

were grouped or marketed under the name of the “Neue Wilde”. 

Although many of the painters were actually acquainted or even were friends among themselves, 

the connections were loose, there was no programmatic manifesto, and the movement itself was 

largely promoted by the art galleries. 

Particularly in his early years, 

Keil liked to paint on whatever support he could find. Several of his early works are just old paintings 

from flea markets that he simply painted over, or even prints with their passepartout – just painted over. 

He also collected old bedsheets and tablecloths at the flea market and spanned them 

over roughly built wooden frames to use them as “painting canvases”. 

Often the fabric used would be colored rather than white, and given the quick, hasty grounding, 

it would shine through and influence the painting’s overall tint. 

In some pictures he pasted newspaper clippings to create a sort of collage-paintings. 

Although his early landscape paintings are very beautiful and reveal his talent, 

Keil’s attention is focused primarily on fellow humans. His life between Germany 

(Berlin, Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Bavaria), Spain (Majorca), France (Paris), and the United States 

(New York and Florida) led him to meet very different people and celebrities. 

Thus, he portraited ordinary people from the street (often from Berlin or from Miami), 

prostitutes, but also world-famous artists like Andy Warhol or fellow artists like Elvira Bach. 

He also loved to paint personalities from the media like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or Sofia Loren. 

His Luc-work's are sold by auction by Sotheby's, Hampel, Ketterer en Doyle. 


1962: First solo exhibition at the Art Gallery, 

1964: London : Galerie Rotebro, Sweden

1965: Great Berlin Art Exhibition

1966: Great Berlin Art Exhibition

1980: Dr. Friedmann Gallery, Israel

1985: Wewerka Gallery, Berlin

1986–1990: Free Art Exhibition, Berlin, Exhibition Hall, Berlin

1993: Carousel Gallery, Dania, Florida, USA

1998: Aventura Art Gallery, Aventura, Florida, USA

1999: Höckner Gallery, Salzburg, Austria

2000: Exhibitions Paris, Amsterdam, London

2001–2005: Intercontinental Hotel Berlin

2002: International Art Fair, Frankfurt

2003: The Sixties Peter Robert Keil, Kunstsinn Gallery, Nuremberg

2005: Boxsler Gallery, Lichtenfels 2006: Public Library, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

2007: Villa Meixner, collection of the KulturForum Europa, Brühl/Baden

2007: Kessler Corporation, Orlando Florida, Savannah, Georgia, USA

2007 Artikel in Art Profil Magazine

2008: The Hurn Museum, Savannah, USA

2010: Keil-Collection Heidelberg, Long Night of the Museums, Heidelberg


2010: Edna Hibel Fine Art Gallery, West Palm Beach, Florida

2011: Keil-Collection Heidelberg, Long Night of the Museums, Heidelberg

2012: Retrospective “Leben im Farbrausch“ (A Life in Colours), Castle Schwetzingen, Orangery

2012: ”Teufelswerk“ (Devil’s Work), State Majolica Manufacture Karlsruhe

2013: Aufbruch – Jüngste Werke aus der Heidelberger Phase 

(A new era – Most recent works from the Heidelberg phase), Alte Feuerwache Heidelberg

2014: Recent works, Berlin, Temporäre Galerie Potsdamer Straße

2014: New Keil works, Keil Collection Heidelberg, Heidelberg

2014 / 2015: Peter Robert Keil in the Heidelberg city hall, City Hall Heidelberg



Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, Volume 79, De Gruyter Verlag, Berlin 2012

Art Profil – Zeitschrift für aktuelle Kunst, Volume 2, 13. Jahrgang 2007

Art Profil – Zeitschrift für aktuelle Kunst, Volume-No. 90-2011

Art Profil – Zeitschrift für aktuelle Kunst, Volume-No. 93-2012

Art Profil – Zeitschrift für aktuelle Kunst, Volume-No. 96-2013

Dietmar Eisold (Hrsg): Lexikon Künstler der DDR Verlag neues Leben Berlin, 2010, 

ISBN 978-3-355-01761-9

Lust und Leidenschaft/Tod und Teufel. Ein Ausstellungskonzept, Edition Art Flow Berlin, 2011, 

ISBN 978-3-938457-11-5

Hartmut Pätzke: Register „Ausgebürgert“, in: Hannelore Offner and Klaus Schroeder: Eingegrenzt – Ausgegrenzt. 

Bildende Kunst und Parteiherrschaft in der DDR 1961–1989, Akademie Verlag GmbH Berlin, 2000

ISBN 3-05-003348-7

Valerie Sottile, Audrey E. Dillon und Michael Sottile: Peter Keil: Neo-Expressionist 

Artist, in: The Dial. A Philosophic Art 

Journal, Volume LXXXV, Number 2, Winter 2008       

      Source: Wikipedia




                                                              Homepage: Peter Robert Keil

Keil Collection Heidelberg: Peter Robert Keil



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