Lothar Osterburg

Zion Homestead, 2007
Photogravure, 18 x 27.75 inches. $3500

Foggy River Road, 2009
Photogravure, Tea stained, 16 x 17 inches. $1500


I recreate personal memories and visions which time has distilled and stripped of superfluous detail. I am fascinated by reports and documentation of historic exploration and travel, and by how the exaggeration, fictionalization and idealization of the unknown have a lasting impact on a culture. Our view of history can be severely skewed by merging factual and fictional information from literature, photography and art, as well as by movies and popular culture.

In my work I allow the erratic and incomplete nature of memory to inspire my own created histories and scenarios. I yearn for new discoveries in a world, which appears to be completely mapped and known. Working on a small scale I can find an ideal world in a microcosm of nature. I build or sculpt my models from memory, with readily available or found materials. The sets are photographed close up, attempting to capture the emotion of my vision and printed in photogravure.

The soft focus, the scratches and traces from the copperplate photogravure process, with its rich, velvety blacks and soft, infinite gray values, as well as the use of rough and unfinished models all work together to suspend the final image somewhere between the real and the imaginary. It’s a model world, but with the grit, grime, nicks and other imperfections of the real one.


Lothar Osterburg works as sculptor, photographer, animation film maker and is master printer in etching and photogravure. Osterburg was three times artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony, and has been to residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Liguria Studies Center in Bogliasco, Italy and Anderson Ranch Arts Center. His work has been shown in numerous international solo and group exhibitions including the Fitchburg Museum of Art, Moeller Fine Art, and most recently in solo shows at Lesley Heller Gallery in New York and the 3rd Print Biennial at ICPNA in Lima Peru. Awards include a 2010 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, an Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010. and two NYFA grants. His work is included in the collections of the New York Public Library, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fine Arts Museum Houston, the Fitchburg Art Museum, and the Chazen Museum of Art, in Madison. He is currently on the faculty of Bard College and the Cooper Union, and has taught at Columbia University, Pratt and the Lacoste School of the Arts, France.

Lothar Osterburg Website