RAINER ALOIS KOHL

Born in 1942 in Dresden, East Germany, Rainer joined his parents, who had fled to Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, as a child aged 10. From age 14, he received art lessons by the Frankfurt based painter and art tutor Hans Scheil, with whom he studied for many years, becoming his assistant while still in high school.

At age 17, his first major commission was a large wall graffito for a boys high school in Frankfurt. Many other commissions followed. After matriculation, Rainer attended the renowned Werkkunstschule (Art Academy) in Offenbach near Frankfurt , where he studied Graphic Design as well as Fine and Applied Arts. His painting style then was mostly abstract in oil, mixed
media and watercolour.

After several impressionable study tours throughout Europe and North Africa, he was chosen to become a member of the prestigious Grupo Ibiza (Spain) in 1963, where he held his first one-man show. In the same year, he met and was encouraged by, Pablo Picasso.

Rainer’s paintings and drawings were also exhibited in several group shows within the ‘Berufsverband Bildender Kuenstler e.V.’ (Federation of Fine Artists) in Germany – Rainer was the youngest Frankfurt based member. His works of those early years were bought by German, Austrian, French, Spanish and American private collectors. Having also excelled at free-lance graphic design from the time of his art studies, Rainer chose to pursue a career in advertising. In 1964, he joined Heumann & Ogilvy Ad-Agency as junior art director, where he conceptualised campaigns for
major German and international clients, such as Lufthansa, Daimler-Benz, Proctor & Gamble, Jaffa Fruits, etc.

In search of new horizons and challenges, Rainer and his then fiance, Hedy, now his wife and business partner, traveled to South Africa in 1965, and, enchanted by the beauty of Africa, decided to stay. In 1966, the Kohls established a Design Studio in Pretoria, with commissions in Southern Africa and Europe, while also being innovative in instituting and promoting ongoing cross-cultural events.

Rainer’s first one-man art exhibition was held in 1968 at the SA Arts Association in Pretoria, opened by the then Cultural Attache´ of Germany. Numerous private and gallery exhibitions followed, resulting in local and global sales from1970 to 2001, e.g. at Galleria Futura in Pretoria, at cultural and fund-raising group exhibitions and auctions, e.g. ‘Save The Children Fund’, and at various embassies, among many others. One of Rainer’s paintings was presented to Chancellor Helmut Kohl during his visit to South Africa.

Throughout the years, Rainer’s paintings have evolved in style and depth, challenging his multi-faceted creativity. His paintings reflect his impressions of the African scene and atmosphere in all its brilliant colours, dimensions and mystique. He paints vividly, with an approach all his own and a complimentary combination of semi-abstract images, forms and colours, presenting an uncompromised African feel and effect . . . somewhat romantic, yet always meaningful, strong and original.

Due to work-related emphasis on design and illustrations, Rainer’s painting output intermittently minimalised during certain years over the past decades. Since 2005, he is again concentrating maximally on painting – with a commitment that this shall be his main creative occupation in the years to come! Rainer’s constant inspiration remains his beloved family; his wife Hedy and his two sons Oliver and Robin with their respective spouses, Fazila and Lerato.