A truly unique and skillful etcher, Willi Kissmer has been an important artist here at the Watergate Street Gallery for a number of years. Internationally renowned, Kissmer is considered the world's finest living etcher.
Focusing on the female form of which his wife Beate is his muse, Kissmer explores the interplay between skin and fabric and the contrasts of light and shadow. His compositions are an intriguing combination of subtlety and suggestion that immediately engages the viewer's imagination. The formal qualities of the composition are equally compelling, it can be difficult to comprehend the level of skill required to emulate each different texture of the subject through the process of etching.
After a career in folkrock music in the 1970's, Kissmer made the decision in 1980 to devote himself to painting and etching. Living and working in the Homberg Tower (previously a railroad lift) by the Rhine in Duisburg, Germany, Kissmer has his studio at the top and his printing workshop at the bottom where he uses various etching techniques including aquatint, mezzotint and drypoint. After using various tools to scratch the design and achieve textures on the copperplate, Kissmer applies oil paint to the plate and then covers it with soaked hand-made paper before putting it through the press.
Willi Kissmer is an accomplished etcher who controls every aspect of this time-consuming process from the initial artistic design to the final produced original etched print. He is an artist that we all admire here at the gallery.