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1942 - 2021

Born in 1942 in Dresden, East Germany, Rainer joined his parents who had fled to Frankfurt Main, West Germany, as a child aged 10. From age 14, he received art lessons by the Frankfurt based painter and art tutor Hans Scheil, with whom he studied for many years, becoming his assistant while still in high school. At age 17, his first major commission was a large wall graffiti for a boys high school in Frankfurt. Many other commissions followed.

After Matriculation, Rainer attended the renowned ‘Werkkunstschule’
(Art Academy) in Offenbach near Frankfurt, where he studied graphic design as well as fine and applied arts. His painting style then was mostly abstract in oil, mixed media and water colour.

After several impressionable study tours throughout Europe and North Africa, he was chosen to be a member of the prestigious art group ‘Grupo Ibiza’ (Spain) in 1963, where he held his first one-man show. In the same year, he met, and was encouraged by, Pablo Picasso, who left an indelible impression on him.

Rainer’s paintings and drawings were also exhibited in several group shows within the ‘Berufsverband Bildender Kuenstler e.V.’ (Federation of Fine Artists) in Germany – Rainer was the youngest Frankfurt based member at the time. His works in those early years were bought by European and American private collectors.

Having also excelled at graphic design from the time of his art studies, Rainer chose to pursue a career in advertising and design. In 1964, he joined Heumann & Ogilvy Ad-Agency in Frankfurt as junior Art Director, where he concepted campaigns for major German and International clients, such as Lufthansa, Daimler-Benz, Proctor & Gamble, Jaffa Fruits,
among many others.

In search of new horizons and challenges, Rainer and his fiancée, Hedy (who grew up in Ethiopia), who became his wife, business partner and manager, traveled to South Africa in 1965, and, enchanted by the beauty of Africa, decided to stay!

In 1966, the Kohls established a design studio in Pretoria, with commissions both throughout Southern Africa and Europe, while also being innovative in instituting and promoting ongoing cross-cultural and non-racial events. They also operated their own art gallery ‘Galleria Futura’ in Pretoria for 6 years, endorsed by the mayor of Pretoria for promoting artists’ exchange between Southern Africa and Europe.

Rainer’s first one-man art exhibition was held in 1968 at the S.A. Arts Association in Pretoria, opened by the Cultural Attache of Germany. There followed numerous private and gallery exhibitions, resulting in local and global sales, from 1970 to 2001, e.g. at Galleria Futura in Pretoria, at cultural and fund-raising group expos and charity auctions such as ‘Save The Children Fund’, and at various embassies, among many others. One of Rainer’s paintings was presented to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl during his visit to South Africa.

Throughout the years, Rainer’s painting style evolved, and challenged his multi-facetted creativity and love of Africa! His paintings reflected his own impressions of the African scene and atmosphere in all their brilliant colours, dimensions and mystique.

He painted vividly with an approach all his own, and a complimentary combination of abstract and semi-abstract images, forms and colours, presenting an uncompromised African feel and effect… somewhat romantic, always passionately meaningful with strong perspectives  -
and highly original.

Due to work-related emphasis on design work and illustrations, Rainer’s painting output intermittently minimalized during certain years over the past decades. Since 2005, he again concentrated on painting, murals and scultpture – with a commitment that remained his main creative occupation until his passing.

2013 to 2015 marked three eventful years with nine exhibitions in Switzerland and Germany as well as several in South Africa, including his 50th Anniversary Commemorative Exhibition in Pretoria - the combined sales increasing the number of collectors of his art.

Rainer’s neo-expressionistic paintings were enthusiastically received and acknowledged to be uniquely different and thought provoking. Many of his motifs merged African wildlife, landscapes and cultural mysticism in surrealistic ‘biomorphing’, particularly evident in his ‘Altered States’ and ‘African Dreams’ collections.

Rainer’s constant inspiration was his beloved family; his wife Hedy and his two sons Oliver and Robin with their respective partners, Fazila and Lerato.



View larger image
Title: Altered States II
Size: 410 x 720 cm
Media: Oil
IID: 24461
Price: R 11 000 Unframed
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