Historic Art | Herbert Johannes Josef Siebner R.C.A.

About the Artist

Siebner was born in Stettin, Germany in 1925 to well-off Prussian and Viennese parents. A gift of oil paints from his aunt solidified his interest in becoming a painter. A lasting influence on his work from his early childhood came from his first teacher Herr Shmocker. In order to teach Siebner the alphabet, Shmocker would make it entertaining by creating caricatures with heads and eyes out of each letter. Siebner indicated that this was his first experience with art, and throughout his career he would often return to using the alphabet in his work and to making primitive figures of the type in Shmocker's alphabets. He first learned practical training from Max Richter before enrolling for formal training. However, in 1942 he was enlisted in the army. He was stationed at first in his hometown of Stettin and was designated as a war artist. He created portraits of military leaders, murals, and maps. He later was stationed in France and then Berlin, and narrowly escaped with his life on numerous occasions throughout the remainder of World War II. After the war he remained in Berlin and attended Hochschule fur Bildende Kunste (1946-1949). He was influenced by the abstract bold colours of the German Expressionists.

In 1954 he and his family moved to Victoria, British Columbia. He focused his art, and worked in various different mediums. He noted inspiration from Klee, Picasso and other primitive art forms. He was a founding member of the informal group, the Limners Society of Artists. The Limners shared an interest in the peculiarities and passions of the human figure. Other artists of the group include Maxwell Bates, Richard Ciccimarra, Robin Skelton, Myfanwy Pavelic, Elza Mayhew, Nita Forrest, Robert de Castro, and Karl Spreitz.

Siebner has had over 150 solo shows, and has his work represented in Canadian, German and American public institutions. He has received national, as well as international recognition for his work.

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