German-born Klaus Friedeberger was interned in Australia during the Second World War as one of a cohort of ‘enemy aliens’ arrested in Britain and sent to Australia on the troopship ‘Dunera’, having fled his home country as a refugee from anti-Semitism in 1938. Arriving at the age of eighteen, he spent the next two years interned in camps in Hay and Orange in NSW and Tatura in Victoria.
During his internment, he was among a number of artists for whom the camps became an informal academy. Fellow internees included former Bauhaus tutor Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack who gave classes on colour theory, Ernst Kitzinger and Franz Philipp who lectured on the history of art, and the surrealist painter Hein Heckroth who ran classes in drawing and watercolour. With their encouragement, Friedeberger made watercolours, learnt the technique of transfer monotypes, designed posters and took part in a camp exhibition in 1941.
In 1942 he was released from internment to join the 8th Australian Employment Company, an army labour corps. During his free time in Melbourne, he met local artists including Arthur Boyd and Sidney Nolan. In 1947 Friedeberger enrolled at East Sydney Technical College under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme where he met and formed lasting friendships with young Australian artists Guy Warren, Tony Tuckson, Oliffe Richmond, and Elizabeth Rooney. Following his studies, Friedeberger returned to Europe and went on to have a long career in abstract art. He died in London in 2019, aged 97.
Other works by Klaus Friedeberger
See all 6 works