Adolf Luther is born on 25 April 1912 in Krefeld-Uerdingen. His father is a hobby artist, and givese Adolf Luther his first encouragement in the field of painting.
Move to Essen-Karnap to his mother’s relatives. His father is called-up for the war.
Luther leaves school in Essen-Karnap after passing his intermediate exams. He embarks on an apprenticeship in an architectural practice, but is forced to give it up as a result of the economic recession. Subsequent vocational training in the administration, city of Essen, where he rises to the position of municipal inspector. Luther does occasional drawings and small watercolours during his school and training years, and takes up music with great interest.
Luther attends the Witte Conservatorium in Essen, where he studies violin and piano. He abandons his studies, though, because he feels he is not sufficiently talented.
Enlisted for military service. That same year he applies in Berlin to do special exam qualifying him for university entrance, and then matriculates in Cologne in law.
Outbreak of war. Luther is called up to serve in France on the Western front. He takes his box of watercolours and a sketch block with him. Does his first drawings and watercolours.
While on special four-month leave, Luther sits his first state exams in law at the University of Bonn. Then returns to the flak unit in Normandy. His unit is moved to the Canary Islands and gives him the opportunity to engross himself in his art studies. The wish grows in him to become an artist.
At the end of the year Luther is detailed to Paris. He visits museums in his spare time and takes lessons in life drawing at the studios in Montparnasse. He takes a six month leave and writes his dissertation.
Awarded his doctorate in law in Bonn.
End of the war. After four months of American imprisonment, returns to Krefeld-Uerdingen.
Participates in an exhibition of Lower Rhine artists at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld, with his oil painting Uerdinger Kirmes [Fun Fair at Uerdingen]. It is painted in the impressionist style.
Traineeship at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court. Luther paints and draws scenes from life in the courts. He is represented in the Dusseldorf exhibition “Künstlerbekenntnisse unserer Zeit” with his painting Das Gericht [The Court]. Luther resolves not to exhibit again before he has arrived at a means of artistic depiction that corresponds to the new notions of reality.
Deep appraisal of Picasso’s Cubism.
Abstract painting. “The truth does not lie in concurring with visual reality. There is a world behind these appearances which can also be depicted. I shall come up with a style that allows me to depict the rtruths that lie beyond optical reality.” (Luther, 1953)
Luther quits his job with the city of Krefeld. He becomes a judge at the administrative tribunal in Minden and then in Düsseldorf. His hopes of now having more time for artistic work are not fulfilled.
Decides to give up his profession as a judge and applies to be relieved of his duties in state service.
Gestural-tachist paintings. Luther seeks a way to overcome traditional panel painting structures through a gestural-tachist approach. The failure of this experiment triggers a deep artistic crisis.
After a visit to Spain he makes a new start, painting thick, planar colour field paintings.
Produces thickly painted, at first coloured but then solely black “material pictures”, whose relief-like, heavily broken up surfaces loom out into space.
First solo shows with material pictures at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld and the Drian Gallery in London.
Dematerialisiations. Destruction of various materials and assemblages. Smashes glass bottles.
Creates his first light objects, the Light Sluices made of glass shards.
Objects using spectacle glass and lenses.
Uses concave mirrors that project given images in reversed manner into space.
First Focussing Room. An installation with a number of concave mirrors set on the floor. They are lit by a spotlight. The moment smoke penetrates the cone of light the focal points become visible.
Makes his first laser objects.
The concave mirror objects are increasingly incorporated into architecture. Integration, Spherical Concave Mirror Wall, Schloss Nordkirchen, foyer of the new building.
Integration, Spherical Concave Mirror Object Olympia, lobby area at the Sporthalle Munich, Olympic Stadium.
Moon Project – Festival 2000. This design aims at catching interstellar, cosmic light with a satellite and projecting it during the night to the beginning of the new millennium onto the dark side of the moon
Stage set for Tristan and Isolde, Städtische Oper, Frankfurt.
Adolf Luther was born and bred in Uerdingen. On his 65th birthday his friends surprise him by unveiling a memorial plaque on the house of his birth. “In this house Adolf Luther first saw the light of day on 25.04.1912” is written clearly for all to see.
Integration, Spherical Concave Mirror Object for the arched ceiling in the Tonhalle Düsseldorf.
Awarded the title of professor by the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.
Awarded the Thorn Prikker Art Prize by the Lord Mayor of Krefeld Dieter Pützhofen on 22 April 1982
Luther receives the Order of Merit from the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Inauguration of the Adolf Luther Foundation, Krefeld.
Made an honorary citizen of the city of Krefeld. Adolf Luther dies on 20 September 1990 in Krefeld.
Adolf Luther Foundation
was set up in 1989 by the Krefeld light and object artist Adolf Luther (1912- 1990) and in 1990 accredited by the State of North Rhine-Westfalia as a non-profit organisation founded under private law.