The Soldier’s Hidden Masterpiece
by Simon Lake
Born on 31st March 1895 in the village of Mühldorf in Upper Bavaria, Germany, Johannes Matthaeus Koelz showed signs of being a keen artist from an early age. However, his attendance at the Munich Academy was delayed by the outbreak of WWI. Koelz served with distinction, and was decorated with the Iron Cross Second Class for rescuing a wounded soldier from behind enemy lines.
After his service, Koelz began to create the masterpiece of his life, a monumental triptych entitled Thou Shalt Not Kill – a stark testament to the horrors of war that Koelz had experienced. This giant piece, crafted in oils on blockboard, was painted in secret between 1930-1937, placing the artist at great risk. Koelz’s anti-war sentiments would place him further onto the wrong side of the ascendant Nazi regime. In 1937, facing imminent arrest, the artist and his family were forced to flee for their lives…
Eighty years after Koelz was exiled from his homeland, German art expert Simon Lake and Koelz’s own daughter, Ava Farrington, have compiled the most comprehensive record to date of the master artist’s life and work. Discover this incredible story of one man’s life, reflecting the turbulent history of war-torn twentieth century Europe.
The Painter’s Hidden Masterpiece by Simon Lake