Otto G. Hitzberger

 ( 1904-2002 )


This body of work was created during the artist's short stay in Sausalito CA in the mid-1950s.  The prints seem to mark a change in Hitzberger's style from traditional forms to more modern abstract works.  


The influence of the abstract expressionist movement  is apparent in the loose, gestural style, reminiscent of works by Picasso, Brach, and Matisse.  The hard edged graphic style and intense color point to the influence of German expressionism as well.  Regardless of the artist's influences, works produced after this date are decidedly modern in style and abstract in form.

Untitled Nude - State II - 1957

Untitled Nude #2 - 1958

Untitled Nude #3 - 1957

Untitled Portrait -  c 1957

Untitled Dancers - 1957

Untitled Figure - 1957
It is difficult to say what printing technique Hitzberger used to create the series.  Each print is distinctly different from one to the next, however the basic line work on some prints is the same.  Possibly a woodcut, linocut, colligraphic plate, or even an etching plate was used to create the line work. The ink is applied liberally, creating random patterns, blobs, and trails, and most of the final form is determined by the random application of ink.  Some of the images appear to be hand embellished with a brush after printing, probably while the print was still wet.  A few examples I have seen elsewhere describe the prints as lithographs, however it is difficult to believe this is the case due to the heavy application of ink, more typical of monoprints and colligraphs.


Otto Hitzberger was a master woodcarver who, over a lifetime, evolved into a master sculptor producing work that can be favorably compared to Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi, Imberto Boccioni, and other established sculptors of the 20th century.  Hitzberger was born in Munich Germany in 1904.  A second generation woodcarver,  he entered the renowned woodcarving school in Oberammergau in his teens, attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, and established himself in his field in the years between World War I and World War II.  His Berlin studio was destroyed during the war in 1944. Seeking to avoid the chaos in Europe after the war, he emigrated to the United States in 1949.

After seven years living and working in New York and Connecticut producing carvings for churches and public buildings on the East Coast,  he moved to Sausalito CA In 1956, where he pursued his career as a fine artist.  In 1959 he returned to Europe with his wife Catherine, where he continued his work as a fine art sculptor.  For the next 18 years he lived and worked as a sculptor in the mountains of Southern Spain until the death of Franco, when political upheaval and civil unrest made it difficult for a foreign national to live in the region.

The couple returned to the US in 1982 and settled in Tucson Arizona, then relocated to Sonoma CA in 1987. Hitzberger spent the remainder of his life working as a sculptor and painter in California. He was well received by the community and participated in a number of exhibitions on the West Coast before the end of his life.  His final exhibition took place in 2000 at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.  Otto G. Hitzberger passed away in 2002 at the age of 98.

All pages on this web site are copyright 1998 to 2016 by Williams Gallery West