Konrad Klapheck, Die Macht des Vergessens (The Power of Oblivion), 1968, oil on canvas, 61 x 43 1/4".

KONRAD KLAPHECK was never one to range far afield—he was born in Düsseldorf in 1935 and lives there to this day. From 1954 to 1958, he studied at the city’s famous art academy under Bruno Goller, a little-known Surrealist who also taught Konrad Fischer and Blinky Palermo, and in 1979 became a professor there, a position he held until his retirement in 2002. A man of great constancy and stabilitas loci, as the Benedictines used to say, in more ways than one: It was his localized early experience of Düsseldorf’s postwar devastation that would prove formative, profoundly influencing his subsequent development as a painter of singular dedication to a handful of idiosyncratic iconographic motifs. In a 2006 interview with curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, Klapheck recalls having been enchanted by the ruins of his bombed-out hometown, which he depicted in the sketchbooks of his youth as

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