Kurt Schiering: German Artist in Chile/Taltal

A German Artist in Chile: 1914 – 1918

Puntiagudo, Lago Todos los Santos, Chile, by German artist Kurt Schiering

Lago Todos los Santos, Volcán Puntiagudo

This page is the result of my attempts to collect as many images as possible of the works of Kurt Schiering that exist in the possession of various members of our extended family. My original idea was to create a small album on paper, but due to the poor quality of my own photos, some of them taken through glass, and also due to the fact that I still have not received photos of a few of the paintings which I know to exist, I have decided to create this online collection. It should be considered a work-in-progress. I hope to add to the collection as time goes on.

Many of the pictures below are images that I grew up with. I can’t remember NOT seeing them on the walls of my parents’ home. A couple of them are now on my own walls. The images we grow up seeing, however unconsciously, cannot help but form us in some way, even if we never learn to identify them. How many children grow up, for example, with a couch-sized painting of a nitrate plant in the middle of the Atacama desert dominating the family living room? We took it for granted that our annual Christmas photo would be against the backdrop of the sun-parched pampa of northern Chile. It was completely normal that the scenery surrounding us at home was of far-off lakes, mountains, and harbors in a distant country where we had never been but which took on an almost mythical aura through the stories my father would tell, over and over again.

Oficina Alemania, Taltal, Chile, by German artist Kurt Schiering

Oficina Alemania, Taltal, Chile, ca. 170  x  60 cm

So one winter day in Berlin, it for some reason struck me to look up the so familiar name of Kurt Schiering on the internet. All I knew about him was a vaguely remembered story about his having accompanied our grandfather on some explorations through the mountains of the regions around Taltal. I was happily surprised with more information than expected. Schiering was born in 1886 in the small Saxon town of Markranstädt, near Leipzig, traveled to Chile in 1913, where he tragically died on an expedition in 1918. The details of his life are well-described on the Markranstädt municipal website. Suddenly, Kurt Schiering became more than a name on “all those pictures” and I became curious as to other pictures, which I have had fun discovering since then and which I hope you will enjoy as well. Thank you all for having contributed to the collection!

Click on image to view slideshow

Also, view the title page of “Las Ciudades del Salitre” by Eugenio Garcés Feliú, a fragment of a painting in oil by Schiering.