Hans Otto Butterlin Biography

Hans Otto Butterlin




Hans Otto Butterlin, artist, chemist, and agriculturist, was born on December 26, 1900, in Cologne, Germany. His family, including his parents Johannes and Emilie and brother Frederick (a.k.a. Ernesto Linares), emigrated to Mexico in 1907; however, with the onset of the Mexican Revolution, the brothers were sent back to live with relatives in Germany. While there, Hans left high school to join the war effort in 1916 and became a decorated soldier. Following the war, he began his formal education. He studied at the Universities of Bonn, Marburg, Munich (1918-20) and the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich (1920-22), studying chemistry and art. After graduating he moved to Berin where he befriended artist George Grosz. He then returned to Mexico in late 1921.

Hans Butterlin was employed as a chemist for various sugar processing companies once he settled in Mexico, but he also pursued art on his own time, as did his brother, Frederick. After securing a position with Bayer AG in Mexico City in the early 1940s he had more time to focus on art and teach painting as well, working at the San Carlos National Academy of Fine Arts. Aong his students were Jose Chavez Morado, Luis Nishizawa, and Ricardo Martinez. He also worked alongside numerous established Mexican artists such as Diego rivera, Ricardo Martinez, and others.

Butterlin participated in various exhibitions throughout Mexico and then in the U.S., Germany, and Holland. He held a one-man show at the Galeria de Arte Mexico from November, 1942 until February, 1943. In 1945 he and his wife, Peggy, and their daughter, Rita, relocated to Ajijic. There, Butterlin established a career as a printmaker and painter, working in a German Expressionist style. He was invited to exhibit in a group show at Galeria Arturi Pani D in Calle Niza. Mexico City, in 1954. Among the other participants were Rufino Tamayo, Alfredo Zalce, Leonora Carrington, and several other noted artists.

Hans Otto Butterlin died in Ajijic on April 2, 1956. An in-depth biography and tribute to his legacy, partially sourced from his granddaughter, can be found here.