Ferdinand Springer Biography

Ferdinand Springer




Ferdinand Springer, painter and printmaker, was born in Berlin on October 1, 1907 to a German father and a Swiss mother. After graduating from high school he enrolled in studies in art history at the University of Zurich. He began painting in 1927 and visited Milan where he met Morandi and Carlo Carrà. In 1928 he moved to Paris where he studied with Roger Bissière at the Académie Ranson. In the early 1930s Springer worked and taught at Atelier 17 in Paris and, in 1937, he traveled to New York where he exhibited at the Julian Levy Gallery and met Calder and Dali. After moving to Grasse in southern France in 1939, he was interned by the Nazis, along with Ernst, Bellmer and Wols at the Tuilerie des Milles camp near Aix-en-Provence.


After his release in 1940, Springer returned to Grasse and started the “Grasse Group” with Hans Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Alberto Magnelli and others. The escalation of the war forced him to move to Switzerland and much of his work from that time was lost. Springer re-launched his career in 1950 and, in 1960, he became a pioneer in the revival of printmaking, along with Friedlander, Courtin, and Henri-Georges Adam. In 1975 he settled permanently in Grasse. He continued to work and to exhibit throughout Europe and the United States, and in the early 1990s began focusing on painting large canvases. 

Springer's work can be found in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art, Paris; the National Library, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Rouen; Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; the Fogg Art Museum, Massachusetts; the LIbrary of Congress, Washington, D.C.; the Yale University Print Collection, Connecticut; Mill College library, California; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; the Kunstmuseum Basel; Kunstmuseum, Bern; and Kunsthalle, Bremen.

In 1967 Springer awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, the same year that his first retrosepctive took place, in Heidelberg, Germany.
Ferdinand Springer died on December 31, 1998 in Grasse, France.